Amazon Will Pay Employees to Quit, Start New Companies

Competing for delivery drivers in what The Wall Street Journal calls the tightest U.S. labor market in 50 years, Amazon is willing to pay its current employees to quit their jobs to start local package-delivery businesses in order to help the e-commerce giant with its ambitious delivery goals. In an increasingly competitive market, Amazon is looking to move away from depending on the U.S. Postal Service and other companies to make deliveries happen. Instead, Amazon announced plans to invite entrepreneurs of its own making into the mix.

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California Court Changes Test to Determine Status of Workers

The California Supreme Court replaced the existing test for determining whether employees are independent contractors with another, simpler one used in Massachusetts and New Jersey. The former test relied on 10 factors, including the amount of supervision, to assess the company’s control over the worker. The new “ABC” test deems the worker an employee if he does a job that is part of the “usual course” of the company’s business. The ruling could have a profound impact on Uber and others in the so-called gig economy. Continue reading California Court Changes Test to Determine Status of Workers

Amazon Opens Its Mini-Mart Minus Cashiers to Seattle Public

After testing Amazon Go, the company’s mini-mart without cashiers in Seattle, the shop opened to the public on Monday. The market is in a 1,800-square foot building, with floor-to-ceiling offerings of prepared food, potato chips, drinks and other groceries. Customers gain admittance with a swipe of their Amazon Go smartphone apps, and Amazon technology keeps track of every item each customer picks up off or puts back on the shelf. The items are automatically added up in the customer’s online account. Continue reading Amazon Opens Its Mini-Mart Minus Cashiers to Seattle Public

Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers

Ron Johnson, a former executive at J.C. Penney and Target and the man behind Apple’s successful retail stores, is now leading a new company into the future of shopping. The startup is called Enjoy, and most of its plans are still under lock, but Johnson suggests the company is trying to change the way online shoppers connect with new products. Enjoy’s service, which may bring a little more human touch to the process of choosing products, is scheduled to launch next year. Continue reading Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers

Microsoft to Introduce Redesigned Start Menu for Windows 10

Microsoft is skipping from Windows 8 to a Windows 10 operating system, expected to launch in the middle of next year. The new version, which was unveiled earlier this week, is intended to work across many different devices, from those connected via the “Internet of Things” to touchscreen phones, tablets and laptops. Windows 10 also features a newly redesigned Start Menu, which combines the tile design of Windows 8 with the traditional list design in older versions of Windows. Continue reading Microsoft to Introduce Redesigned Start Menu for Windows 10

USA Today Takes Steps to Boost Mobile and Online Readership

USA Today has launched a program called Social Media Tuesdays, in which staff members are expected to act as if social media is the only means of receiving articles. The idea behind the development is to get the employees to think as their readers think. USA Today has increased monthly mobile readership 48 percent since last year, to 25.5 million. Newspapers are hoping online and mobile offerings will make up for the decrease in traditional print readership.  Continue reading USA Today Takes Steps to Boost Mobile and Online Readership

Survey Finds Consumers Skeptical of Social Media Marketing

Consumers are bombarded with marketing schemes on their social media sites, and they are growing wary of fake reviews and Facebook likes. A new survey found that marketers are more relaxed about online marketing techniques than consumers are. About 67 percent of consumers believe that hiding negative search results of a business or product is unethical and 71 percent of consumers think it is misleading to create fake accounts to leave positive reviews for businesses. Continue reading Survey Finds Consumers Skeptical of Social Media Marketing

Facebook to Acquire Mobile Messaging Service for $19 Billion

Facebook has agreed to purchase mobile messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion, in what marks the largest-ever acquisition of a company backed by venture capital. The deal, which comes in the wake of Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire messaging service Snapchat, includes $3 billion in restricted stock, $4 billion in cash, and $12 billion in Facebook shares. The deal easily outranks other notable startup acquisitions, including Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, and Microsoft’s $8.5 billion Skype deal. Continue reading Facebook to Acquire Mobile Messaging Service for $19 Billion