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Daily Tech Briefing: Microsoft, UAE’s Mubadala Eye Stake In Jio; Twitter Vs Donald Trump & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Microsoft, UAE’s Mubadala Eye Stake In Jio; Twitter Vs Donald Trump & More

Microsoft is looking to invest $2 Bn in Reliance Jio Platforms

Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Company might invest $1 Bn in Jio

In other news, Donald Trump has signed an order to regulate Twitter, Facebook and others

Tech major Microsoft and Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Company are looking to join the parade of investors in Reliance Jio Platforms with reports of a possible $2 Bn and $1 Bn investments respectively in Reliance’s digital services company.

Jio Platforms which runs Reliance Jio, JioFiber, MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema, JioMart JioNews, JioSaavn and other services has recently raised over $12.3 Bn from investors such as Facebook, KKR and Vista Equity Partners in recent weeks.

Microsoft is in talks to acquire more than 2.5% stake in Jio Platforms for $2 Bn. On the other hand, Mubadala, neither confirming nor denying the development, said, “Clearly Jio’s platform is attracting a wide range of world-class investors, given its enormous potential to serve one of the world’s largest marketplaces.”

Since April, Reliance Jio has raised over $10.3 Bn (INR 78K Cr). Of which, Facebook invested $5.7 Bn (INR 43,574 Cr) for 9.99% shares in the company, becoming the largest stakeholder of the company after Reliance Industries Limited. Facebook was followed by KKR, Vista Equity Partners, Silver Lake and General Atlantic which invested $1.5 Bn (INR 11,367 Cr), $1.5 Bn (INR 11,367 Cr), $746 Mn (INR 5,655 Cr) and $869 Mn (INR 6,600 Cr) respectively.

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey Hits Back At Trump

In response to US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Twitter for its fact-checking initiatives, Jack Dorsey, CEO of the microblogging platforms said that Twitter will continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. On Thursday night (IST),  Trump issued an executive order seeking to regulate social media giants and remove the legal immunity provided for user-generated content. If the law is enacted, the likes of Twitter and Facebook would become open to lawsuits for content posted by others.

Earlier, Trump had alleged that social media platforms are trying to silence conservative voices after Twitter had applied a “fact-checking” label on a tweet posted by the US President. Trump had even threatened to close down Twitter.

Responding to Trump, Dorsey, in a series of three tweets, explained why Twitter decided to add a “fact-checking” label on tweets.”Per our Civic Integrity policy, the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots). We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear,” Dorsey said in a tweet tagging Trump.

Dorsey also pointed out that the fact-checking label did not make Twitter an arbiter of truth. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions,” he said.

BookMyShow Downsizes

In an email to 1450 employees, BookMyShow founder and CEO Ashish Hemrajani said that the company has to downsize its team by laying off and furloughing 270 members across functions. The furloughed employees will get medical insurance, gratuity and other benefits as per their employment standards.

For laid-off employees, BookMyShow is offering equivalent to a minimum of two months of salary irrespective of their tenure or as per notice period, whichever is higher. The employees will also get medical insurance benefits until the end of the year. BookMyShow is also looking to provide outplacement support to the employees.

Hemrajani said that teams that are staying back have voluntarily taken salary cuts ranging from 10% to 50% at the leadership level, given up their bonuses and all salary raises. “The company has cut all other expenses and renegotiated with vendors, partners and landlords and after exhausting all other cost-saving measures, we have taken this decision as a last resort,” he added.

Fake Aarogya Setu Apps Steal User Data

While the Indian government addressed few privacy concerns by making Aarogya Setu open source, cybersecurity researchers have found fake apps masquerading as the contact tracing app and siphoning off user data.

Cybersecurity firm SonicWall Labs Threats found that malicious fake clones of Aarogya Setu were spyware in disguise. These apps were capable of making phone calls to phone numbers, recording phone calls, sending SMS, taking photographs and also recording videos.

Recurring Payments To Boost UPI Apps?

While digital payment transactions dwindled amid lockdown, the Reserve Bank of India’s nod for e-mandates for recurring payments through unified payments interface (UPI) could help payments apps make up for lost ground.

UPI payments apps, and other fintech companies in spaces like lending, are gearing up to bring recurring payments facility to users. Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay have reportedly partnered with lending platforms like Bajaj Finance, Tata Capital, Indiabulls Consumer Finance and others to process EMI payments on loans and purchases. The companies also plan to enable mutual fund payments, thanks to the UPI recurring facility which was officially announced in January 2020.

Other Developments

  • Over-the-top video streaming platform VOOT has partnered with edtech startup upGrad to provide upskilling videos to working professionals. VOOT has rolled out a dedicated section where videos, which are created by upGrad, related to data science, blockchain, tech and management are hosted on the platform.
  • US-based ride-hailing platform inDriver has resumed its service in Chandigarh. The company said that the resumption of services will help driver-partners to start earning again.