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Amazon Releases Diversity Numbers For The First Time And Surprise, It’s Mostly Male And White

Amazon.com AMZN +2.12% released workplace diversity figures for the first time on Friday and they did little to set the Seattle online retailer apart from its tech industry peers.

Amazon, which employs more than 88,400 around the world according to its careers website, noted that its workforce was, unsurprisingly, composed of most white males. Some 63% of its “Amazonians” were male, while white employees made up 60% of the workplace. Those percentages were even higher for employees in managerial positions, of which 75% were male and 71% were white.

“Amazon has hundreds of millions of customers who can benefit from diversity of thought,” read Amazon’s report. “We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers.”

While the company sells products in diverse regions from India to Germany, Amazon was one of the few remaining large American technology companies not to share employee diversity numbers following voluntary disclosures from the likes of Facebook, Twitter TWTR -0.79%and Google GOOGL +1.33%. Last month, the company was pressured by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition and publications like USA Today to release race and gender breakdowns of its workforce. Jackson also reportedly had discussions with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.  Read More

The Kindle Wants To Be Free

Next week or next year, Amazon will start giving away its e-reader. Here’s why.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the new Amazon tablet called the Kindle Fire.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the Kindle Fire on Sep. 28, 2011 in New York CityPhotograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

My record on predictions about Amazon is mixed at best. Two summers ago, I guessed that “before the holidays,” Amazon would cut the price of its cheapest Kindle e-reader to $99. My logic was solid—the cost of the Kindle’s parts kept declining rapidly, and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, seems to be happiest of all when he’s slashing prices—but my timing was off. Amazon’s cheapest Kindle didn’t break the $100 barrier until last year, when the company lowered the price to $79.

Being wrong doesn’t deter me, though, so last month I reported on another vision in my Amazon crystal ball. The company was moving toward offering same-day shipping to people in large metro areas across the country, I said. But a few weeks after my piece, Tom Szkutak, Amazon’s chief financial officer, pooh-poohed the same-day shipping plan during a call with stock analysts. “We don’t really see a way to do same-day delivery on a broad scale economically,” he said. To me, that sounded like a bluff meant to throw off competitors. Amazon already offers same-day shipping on select items in 10 American cities, and shipping things faster has always been one of its primary corporate missions—that’s why it’s building dozens of new shipping centers across the country. I’m still sticking to my guns—I believe that over the next few years, Amazon will offer same-day service on more items in more places. But until I’m proven right, you can go ahead and call me wrong.

Keep that record in mind when you hear my next report from Amazon’s future. Next week, the company is holding a press event in Los Angeles to introduce some new stuff. Many observers believe that we’ll see upgrades to the firm’s Kindle lineup. These include, according to All Things D, a new Kindle Fire that has a camera and a better display and, per TechCrunch, a “front-lit” E Ink Kindle, meaning one that you can read at night. If that’s the case, I’ll be ecstatic.  Read More

Windows 8 tablet PC makers: We can’t compete with the iPad’s price

iPad: Still king

If reports from Taiwan are to be believed, hardware manufacturers are struggling to create Windows 8 on ARM (Windows RT) devices that are competitively priced against Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The reason? According to Digitimes, OEMs have to pay Microsoft $90-100 for a Windows 8 license.

While that $90-100 figure sounds a little bit on the high side (Microsoft historically charges OEMs around $50 for desktop licenses and $30 for Windows Phone 7 licenses), it doesn’t really matter: Even at $10 or $20, Microsoft (and OEMs) would be hard pushed to compete with Amazon and Apple on price. Apple effectively gives iOS away (it’s a hardware company, after all), and Amazon gets Android for free. Microsoft has to charge for Windows 8 and Windows RT because it’s a software company; if it didn’t, it wouldn’t make any money, which shareholders might see as a bit of a problem.  Read More

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