Also in this letter:
🛒 Prime Day postponed in India
💸 You can now tip on Twitter
🚨 Mid-size IT firms eye acquisitions
A majority of users have accepted the new terms of service, however, a company spokesperson said. For those who still haven’t accepted them, WhatsApp will send follow-up reminders over the next several weeks, which will eventually become persistent.
- After deferring the rollout in February, WhatsApp has been issuing a series of clarifications and assurances to users that the policy applies only to business chats and accounts and doesn’t affect the privacy of personal messages.
The messaging app had faced a mini exodus of users to rival apps like Signal and Telegram when it first announced the update. However, this move was short-lived as the company saw its numbers rebound following the policy postponement.
CCI Probe: WhatsApp is currently facing an antitrust probe from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), after the regulator found that the update may have violated provisions of the Competition Act on abuse of dominance. While the firm and parent company Facebook challenged this decision in April, the Delhi High Court quashed their petition earlier this week.
The Delhi High Court has now sought CCI’s response after Facebook and WhatsApp lodged an appeal. CCI has until May 21 to reply.
Amazon postpones Prime Day in India
Amazon is postponing its flagship Prime Day sale in India and Canada this year, which was scheduled for June 2021, due to concerns around Covid.
The online retail giant said it will conduct the sale event as scheduled in other markets such as the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and China. No new date for the sale has been announced for India or Canada as yet.
Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 and has typically held the annual sale event simultaneously in all its markets. The event has been one of the key initiatives for the company to increase its Prime subscriber base, which recently crossed 200 million.
Last year, the company had been forced to split the event due to the virus outbreak: The sale was postponed in most markets to October while it was held here in August. The annual sale had kicked off a massive recovery for India’s e-commerce sector after the lockdown restrictions were eased last year.
- More than 4,000 small sellers crossed sales of Rs 10 lakh and 209 vendors became crorepatis, Amazon’s India country head Amit Agarwal had told ET in August last year. While the seller sign-up rate had gone up by 50% since Covid-19, more than twice as many customers signed up for a Prime membership during the sale compared to the previous year, Agarwal had said. Over 65% of the new members came from outside of the top 10 cities.
Tweet of the day
Twitter launches Tip Jar feature
Twitter has started rolling out a new Tip Jar feature on its iOS and Android apps that allows users to directly send money to other accounts to show their support.
Everyone using Twitter in English will be able to send tips but only a select group of users that include creators, journalists, experts, and non-profits will be able to accept them. Twitter said it will expand the feature to more languages soon.
How does it work? Users with the ability to receive tips will have a new Tip Jar icon next to the Follow button on their profile page. Tippers will be able to choose their preferred payment option to send money. Android users can also send tips through Twitter’s Clubhouse-like social audio feature Spaces. Twitter won’t take a cut as of now.
Payment options: In the United States, Twitter allows payments through Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo, although it noted that the payment options will differ for each country. It doesn’t support any Indian payment options yet.
Privacy catch: Twitter noted that other payment apps may share user information between people sending or receiving tips as per their terms. For instance, SocialProof Security chief executive Rachel Tobac pointed out that sending tips via Paypal had revealed the address of the tip sender to the receiver. To this, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said they will update the feature to notify users about this.
Meanwhile, the quarterly sales of payments firm Square, led by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, got a massive boost from the surging demand for bitcoin.
Revenue jumped 266% year-on-year (YoY) to $5.06 billion for the quarter. Excluding bitcoin revenue, the company’s total revenue was $1.55 billion, up 44% YoY. Revenue from bitcoin sales grew more than 11X to $3.51 billion, from $306 million a year earlier.
- Gross profit from bitcoin sales was only $75 million for the quarter, while the overall gross profit rose 79% YoY to $964 million.
ETtech Deals Digest
The Indian startup ecosystem saw fewer funding deals this week than the previous one. Some key deals involved edtech startup Teachmint and supply chain logistics enterprise Hwy Haul.
Mid-size IT firms to ramp up acquisitions
Mid-size IT services providers are mulling plans to step up mergers and acquisitions this year, amid expectations of higher growth after a robust financial year.
What’s the plan? Pune-based Persistent Systems is looking for potential targets in the $10-$50 million range to go deeper in the areas of cloud, data, security, or to places like Europe, said chief executive Sandeep Kalra.
Zensar is evaluating strategic tuck-in acquisitions in areas such as data, cloud, engineering and others, said Ajay Bhutoria, who recently took over as chief executive of the IT services firm, a part of the RPG Group.
KPIT is scouting niche technology acquisitions in the range of $20 million to improve cash utilisation and gain capabilities, CEO Kishor Patil said last week.
Coforge (previously NIIT Technologies) acquired business process management firm SLK Global last month. Chief executive Sudhir Singh said they would be open to acquisitions in the areas of data, cloud and security.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Wipro has moved away from its string-of-pearls strategy, in which it would buy a series of small companies that were a strategic fit, to making large acquisitions. Last month, Wipro made its largest-ever acquisition Capco in a $1.45-billion all-cash deal. The purchase is expected to help the IT firm break into the higher value consulting business, which is currently dominated by the likes of McKinsey and Bain & Co.
Last week, Wipro also raised its revenue growth forecast for the ongoing quarter to 8-10% from the previously projected 2-4%, following this purchase.