Amazon Expands Into Home Services Market, Solidifying Its Position as the Company That Just Keeps Growing

And to think, it all started with books. Inc. announced its latest major move Monday, which will allow the e-commerce site to expand into the home services market. It’s yet another business venture that proves Amazon is the digital giant that just keeps growing.

For years, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce space and reigned supreme over its competitors whenever consumers were trying to have their online shopping needs met.

Now, the company is adding Amazon Home Services to its ever-expanding list of resources.

It’s a move that may have solidified Amazon as a true one-stop shop.

“Third party estimates show that customers spend four times more on services each year than they do on physical products,” Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace told Reuters. “So for us the opportunity is very big.”

Nearly 85 million Amazon shoppers purchase things from the site that require some sort of installation or servicing, Reuters reported. This often forces consumers to take on the grueling task of installing the new purchase on their own or budget additional money to find a third-party installation service that could turn out to be scam, overpriced or just provide poor quality of work.

That’s where Amazon’s new venture steps in.

Amazon Home Services now makes it possible for consumers all across the nation to purchase their brand new washer and dryer while also finding a certified professional to install the new machines.

This takes the additional work off the consumers’ hands while also ensuring better pricing and quality of service under the Amazon guarantee.

Amazon will also offer price matching to consumers who find another third-party installation or servicing company willing to complete the same job for a lower rate than what was originally quoted by Amazon.

The move will put Amazon’s new service in direct competition with companies like Angie’s List, Craigslist, and Yelp, with Amazon having a clear advantage over its new rivals.

Craigslist is still in the midst of trying to conquer years of negative publicity caused by dishonest users and scam artists on the site.

While Angie’s List and Yelp don’t have any major public relations battles to fight, they also don’t tout the same message of sheer convenience.

Amazon is offering an option that will not only attract new users but also benefit the many users who are already loyally and faithfully turning to Amazon whenever they need to make a purchase.

Yet again, Amazon proves to be the king of a successfully evolving business.

When Amazon first surfaced on the Web, it was all about selling books online. Eventually, the e-commerce site expanded to other forms of media including DVDs and CDs.

As the way people consumed media continued to change, however, it seemed like it would be nearly impossible for bookstores and media rental companies to keep up.

Book stores were forced to close their doors, and companies like Blockbusters took a major hit.

Amazon, however, adapted flawlessly.

Amazon began offering video games, apparel, furniture, toys, jewelry and anything else a person would possibly be looking to buy online.

The growth only continued as Amazon became a tech giant, releasing its collection of Kindle e-book readers and Fire Tablets.

With movie-streaming services, music download options and now a home services market, Amazon has made it clear that it is ready and willing to evolve with the rapidly changing nature of consumer demands.

6 Tech Giants That Signed Fat Checks to Help Black Students in STEM but Still Lack Diversity in Their Own Companies



Google has consistently donated to a variety of different causes aimed at boosting diversity in the tech space, including the Black Girls Code initiative. Google donated $190,000 to the initiative in 2014 but never did much for increasing diversity in its own staff. That same year, Google’s diversity report revealed that roughly 79 percent of the tech giant’s staff across the globe was male. Only about 2 percent of the staff was Black.

Virtual Reality Still Just Around the Corner as Developers Try to Eliminate the Final Kinks

For years now virtual reality headsets for gaming and movie-watching have been just around the corner.

For years now….

Tech lovers have long been strapping clunky early models of virtual reality sets to their faces and forgetting in the midst of their excitement that their neck is screaming in agony and that a red rectangular mark was stuck on their face by the time they removed the headset.

This all goes without mentioning the fact that for many consumers, the headset was ripped off in a mad dash to the bathroom to vomit after motion sickness settled in.

Game enthusiasts never needed a special headset to spot the empty promises that were constantly fueling their hopes that virtual reality would finally actually come around the world’s largest corner.

The dominating presence of virtual reality developments at the Game Developers Conferences in San Francisco, however, sparked a new wave of hope that the wait for virtual reality sets would soon be over.

This was mainly because it seemed like every major tech giant in the virtual reality race had stunning new developments to demo for the anxious public.

Oculus, Sony, and Valve all had virtual reality sets on display at the conferences, and the industry’s power players were happy to discuss the new technologies on the way.

“There is a legitimate opportunity,” said Oculus CTO John Carmack. “Make something great, and there will be opportunities there to move a number of units, to be the breakout ‘thing.’ To look back and say, ‘Well, clearly that was the obvious thing to do’ when it wasn’t the obvious thing to do.”

With a new wave of buzz around virtual reality, it’s no surprise that developers are already working on some of the first games that consumers will get to play with the headsets.

Serious Parody CEO Daniel Hinkle has been eagerly working on games for the Oculus Rift, but other developers were hesitant to hop on board.

While the tech giants did unveil impressive advances at the conferences, there are still serious concerns about the actual functionality surrounding the devices.

For one, the devices are still making some people sick.

In the midst of assuring tech lovers that virtual reality was on the way and praising the daring pioneers of the technology, Carmack also pointed to the current downfalls and obstacles that are plaguing the devices.

Carmack laid out his “nightmare scenario.”

“People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up,” Carmack said.

It’s a very real reality.

For those who managed to get their hands on Ocular prototypes in the past, the motion sickness struggle was proven to be very real.

“The fear is if a really bad V.R. product comes out, it could send the industry back to the ’90s,” he said.

Carmack wasn’t the only one to discuss this fear.

Gabe Newell, the president and co-founder of Valve, described the VR demonstrations as “the world’s best motion sickness inducers,” the NY Times reported.

In addition to motion sickness, some users are still unhappy with the size and weight of many VR headsets, which ultimately prohibits them from being focused on the exciting digital realm before them for too long.

This comes along with serious concerns about the price point.

Khaled Helioui, CEO of European game studio Bigpoint, was unhappy with the fact that the headsets will cost $200 or more.

Samsung’s Gear VR is currently priced at $200.

Other tech giants haven’t announced their prices, but it isn’t likely that the $200 price tag will get slashed by competitors.

“The message that sends is, ‘Hey, you need to be wealthy to play our games,’ and I have a big problem with that,” Helioui told Mashable.

For that reason, consumers shouldn’t expect to see any Bigpoint games coming out for the VR sets just yet.

Helioui hinted that he won’t allow it until the price points come down.

Consumers, on the other hand, don’t see the big deal.

“I wouldn’t mind spending up to $300 for a VR headset,” one reader commented.

The Mashable reader also suggested he wouldn’t be willing to go much higher than that but as the tech world has already shown in the past —if the device catches on, people will be willing to dish out an extra hundred bucks or so to make sure they don’t miss the initial wave of a gaming revolution.


Hour of Code Prepares to Spark Millions of Young Students’ Interest in Computer Science

As the technology industry continues its rapid growth, tech giants are getting behind the annual Hour of Code to ensure that young people who have an interest in the field have access to the classes and resources they need to fill the millions of positions available for computer science experts.

There is still the general belief that the tech industry is a space reserved for nerdy white men—and after tech giants released their diversity reports earlier this year, it seemed as though there was some validity to that argument.

Companies like Google and Facebook had less than 2 percent Black employees, with hardly any in leadership positions. The companies also had a troubling lack of female employees.

The Hour of Code may be able to help improve these numbers., a non-profit that aims to get youth interested in computer science, launched the Hour of Code last December.

The event is supported by tech giants, local governments and schools across the nation, who all dedicate at least an hour to introducing young people to coding and computer science.

One of the tech giants getting behind the movement is Apple. Apple will be offering free coding classes for kids and adults at many of their retail locations on December 11.

For Apple senior VP of internet software and services, it’s exactly the type of international movement that the company loves to get behind.

“Education is part of Apple’s DNA and we believe this is a great way to inspire kids to discover technology,” Eddy Cue said.

While the annual worldwide event does not particularly reach out to marginalized groups, it does offer free resources that many Black youth would not have access to otherwise.

Such events have been promoted as viable solutions to the tech world’s massive diversity problem.

Last year’s Hour of Code was a huge success and managed to introduce roughly 15 million students to the world of technology and computer science.

The students also learned the basics of coding and collectively wrote more than 600 million lines of code, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

This year, hopes to reach at least 100 million students.

The Hour of Code already has been celebrated as the biggest educational event in history by several major news outlets and has been part of an even larger movement to get more schools in the United States to place more value on computer science classes.’s website claims that more than 20 states in the U.S have school systems that don’t allow computer science classes to be counted towards the credits students need to graduate. has been adamant about getting more schools to efficiently incorporate computer science classes in their K-12 curriculum.

Major progress has already been made, as more than a dozen states have updated their educational policies to give computer science classes a more prominent role in their programs.

From December 8-14, which is Computer Education Week, thousands of events will take place across the globe to get students interest in computer science. More information on all the events and companies supporting the movement can be found on the Hour of Code’s official website.