Apple Sued by French App Developers for Overcharging App Store Fee
By Reuters | Updated: 2 August 2022
Apple was sued on Monday by French app developers that accused the iPhone maker of violating US antitrust law by overcharging them to use its app store.
The plaintiffs in the proposed class action include Société du Figaro, which develops the Figaro news app; L’Équipe 24/24, which develops the L’Équipe sports news and streaming app, and Le Geste, an association of French content providers.
According to the complaint filed in the federal court in Oakland, California, Apple has abused its monopoly power over app distribution on iOS-based mobile devices by mandating only one app store for those devices.
The plaintiffs said this has enabled the Cupertino, California-based company to charge “supracompetitive” 30 percent commissions for 14 years, as well as $99 (roughly Rs. 8,000) annual fees to app developers, while stifling innovation and consumer choice.
“There is no valid business necessity or pro-competitive justification for Apple’s conduct,” the complaint said. “Instead, Apple’s actions are designed to destroy competition.”
Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Monday’s complaint seeks an injunction against further anticompetitive conduct, plus triple damages for violating federal antitrust law and California state laws.
The plaintiffs are represented by the US law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, and Paris-based Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi.
Monday’s lawsuit resembles an earlier Hagens Berman case against Apple, which resulted last August in a $100 million (roughly Rs. 800 crore) settlement for smaller iOS developers that called Apple’s commissions excessive.
In June, the firm reached a $90 million (roughly Rs. 700 crore) settlement with Alphabet’s Google over its app store’s treatment of developers.
The case is Société du Figaro et al v Apple Inc, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-04437.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
Microsoft 365 Services Back Up After Hours of Outage That Affected Thousands
By Reuters | Updated: 6 June 2023
Microsoft said on Monday that it had restored its online services after an outage affected thousands of users of its 365 software suite, including Teams and Outlook, for more than two hours.
Access to its productivity software such as Word and Excel was down for nearly 18,000 users at its peak before easing to 906 at around 12:57 p.m. ET, according to Downdetector.com, which tracks internet outages.
“We have resolved an issue preventing users from accessing some of our services,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Microsoft flagged the outage earlier by saying it was investigating an issue with accessing Outlook on the web and later added that Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for business were also impacted.
The tech company said it had rolled back a system update to resolve the outage, without providing any detail.
Several Twitter users complained about the outage and shared the issues faced by them due to the disruption.
Microsoft’s services have been hit by at least three outages since the beginning of the year.
In January, the company was hit with a networking outage that took down its cloud platform Azure along with services such as Teams and Outlook, potentially affecting millions of users globally.
Azure’s status page showed services were impacted in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. Only services in China and its platform for governments were not hit.
An outage of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure can impact a variety of services and create a domino effect as almost all of the world’s largest companies use the platform.
Outages of Big Tech platforms are not uncommon as several companies ranging from Google to Meta have seen service disruptions. Azure, the second largest cloud services provider after Amazon, faced outages last year.
However, with increased dependence on online platforms due to more employees working from home in the last three years any outage has a greater impact.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
SBI Said to Use AI/ML Extensively in Operations: All Details
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 5 June 2023
SBI on Monday said it has proposed to enhance the use of business analytics and AI/ML in decision-making and operations by deploying NextGen Data Warehouse and Data Lake and exploring new partnerships with fintechs and NBFCs for co-lending.
The country’s largest lender, in its annual report posted on stock exchanges on Monday, said it deploys the most advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and business analytics, among others, to augment its product offerings to enhance customer delight each time without exception.
The bank’s standalone net profit during fiscal 2022-23 rose by over 58 percent to Rs. 50,232 crore from Rs. 31,676 crore in FY2022.
“… the bank has registered significant improvements on the asset quality front, provision coverage ratio, RoE/RoA, NII and NIM, while also giving highest standalone profit in FY2023 by any listed corporate, domestically,” State Bank of India (SBI) said.
SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, in his message to shareholders, said overall 2022-23 has been a good year for the bank.
“Despite the geopolitical headwinds, the resurgence of Covid-19 in China, the Indian economy showed remarkable resilience and the same reflects in your bank’s financials,” he said.
Khara said SBI has had a healthy run of reporting robust financial results successively for the last three years.
Despite the challenges, SBI’s ability to absorb unexpected losses has improved.
“Healthy internal accruals reinforce its ability to tap capital markets, if warranted, in future,” he said, adding that risk management practices have been strengthened over the years and incremental improvements remain a perpetual work in progress.
Further, he said the bank is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital in the current year. With declining credit costs, opportunities for lending in sunrise sectors, such as sectors identified under the PLI scheme, renewables and electric mobility, will be explored to diversify the portfolio.
On the way forward, Khara said: “The use of business analytics and AI/ML in decision making and operations will be taken to the next logical level by deploying NextGen Data Warehouse and Data Lake”.
He also said mutually beneficial partnerships with fintechs and NBFCs under RBI’s co-lending framework will be explored.
The bank said it has been consistently leveraging digital channels to provide an omnichannel experience to its customers across all geographies.
YONO Global App has emerged as the prime fulcrum for providing banking services to retail customers, it said.
The bank, as per the annual report, has completed the roll-out of the new revised version of the sanctions screening solution having improved features, including AI/ML capability.
The focus of the next generation of YONO shall be on customer-centric design, hyper-personalised experience, innovative product offerings, modernisation of tech stack, and leveraging AI/ML, cloud and data analytics for digital transformation in order for benchmarking YONO with the best of global/Indian digital banking propositions, it added.
Paytm UPI App Records 35 Percent YoY Merchant Growth to Rs. 2.65 Lakh Crore in April-May 2023
By ANI | Updated: 5 June 2023
India’s leading payments and financial services company Paytm on Monday announced its business operating performance for the two months ended May 2023 and that its consumer engagement on the Paytm Super App continues to see a robust expansion of its consumer base.
The consumer base has seen an average Monthly Transacting Users (MTU) for the two months ended May 2023 at 9.2 crore, registering a growth of 24 percent year-on-year.
As it strengthens its leadership in offline payments, the QR pioneer said it achieved a new milestone with 75 lakh devices deployed, an increase of 4 lakh devices in the month of May.
“With our subscription as a service model, the strong adoption of devices drives subscription revenues and higher payment volumes, while increasing the funnel for our merchant loan distribution,” the company said.
Paytm is seeing consistent growth in merchant payments volume with the total merchant Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) processed through the platform for the two months ended May 2023 aggregating to Rs. 2.65 lakh crore, marking a year-on-year growth of 35 percent.
“Our focus over the past few quarters continues to be on payment volumes that generate profitability for us, either through net payments margin or from direct upsell potential,” added Paytm.
The fintech giant’s loan distribution business, in partnership with top lenders, continues to witness accelerated growth with disbursements through the platform for the two months ended May 2023 growing 169 percent year-on-year to Rs. 9,618 crore.
The number of loans disbursed in the two months surged 54 percent to 85 lakh loans.
Paytm said that it currently has seven large lending partners and aims to onboard 3-4 partners in FY24 while it continues to work with lenders to remain focused on the quality of the book.
The company further added that the earlier mentioned system upgrade is now done and its lending partner has resumed disbursing merchant loans, with some pent-up demand from April being met in May.
In its recently announced January-March quarter (Q4FY23) results, Paytm reported a 51 percent Year Over Year (YoY) growth in revenue from operations to Rs. 2,334 crore, driven by growth in payments and loan distribution business.
The company reported an operating profit for the second straight quarter. It reported EBITDA before ESOP cost of Rs. 234 crore, including the full-year UPI incentive. In the previous quarter, Paytm achieved its milestone of operating profitability, much ahead of its September 2023 guidance.
Twitter Hires Former NBCUniversal Executive Joe Benarroch to Handle Business Operations
By Reuters | Updated: 5 June 2023
Former NBCUniversal executive Joe Benarroch will join Twitter on Monday, in a role focusing on business operations, he told Reuters.
Benarroch said in an email that he was looking forward to working with the company’s team to “build Twitter 2.0 together.”
“Welcome to the flock, @benarroch_joe! From one bird to the next,” tweeted incoming Twitter Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino, who was appointed in May. She did not mention the position Benarroch will be taking.
Welcome to the flock, @benarroch_joe! From one bird to the next.
Let’s get to work @Twitter! #timetofly
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayacc) June 4, 2023
At Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Benarroch oversaw communication strategy for its Advertising and Partnerships division, reporting to Yaccarino, who was advertising chief there before joining Twitter.
Benarroch is being appointed following the departure of a number of executives, adding to Yaccarino’s challenges.
Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, said on Thursday that she has resigned from the social media company.
On Friday, Reuters reported that the head of brand safety and ad quality, A.J. Brown, has decided to leave.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Benarroch’s appointment on Sunday.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
E-Commerce Platform Meesho Crosses 500 Million App Downloads on Google Play, App Store
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 2 June 2023
E-commerce platform Meesho has become the world’s “fastest shopping app” to cross 500 million cumulative downloads across Google Play and iOS App Store, mobile data analytics provider has said.
The company has achieved the 500 million download milestone in six years, data.ai, formerly known as App Annie, said in a statement.
According to data.ai, over half of Meesho app downloads (274 million) came in 2022.
“Indian e-commerce platform Meesho has emerged as the world’s fastest shopping app to cross 500 million cumulative downloads across Google Play and iOS App Store combined, reaching this milestone in six years,” data.ai said.
According to data.ai, with just 13.6 MB size, Meesho’s android app is the lightest e-commerce app in India on Play Store, which makes it compatible with low-end smartphones.
“We are delighted to partner with them and provide them with the insights they need to continue to grow their business,” data.ai, Head of Insights, Lexi Sydow said.
Meesho, CXO for user growth, Megha Agarwal said India has 750-800 million people with smartphones and internet access, and it presents a huge opportunity for the company to spark the next wave of e-commerce adoption in India.
“This milestone is a great validation of our User-First mantra, which helps us continuously spot and address customer pain points to deliver an immaculate online shopping experience,” Agarwal said.
Earlier, Meesho announced that it recorded 140 million annual transacting users on its platform in 2022.
WhatsApp Launches New Global Security Centre Page With 10 Indian Languages
By ANI | Updated: 1 June 2023
Instant messaging application WhatsApp has launched a new global ‘Security Center’ page which will act as a one-stop window for users to learn more about how to protect themselves against spammers and any unwanted contacts.
WhatsApp on Thursday said it has created this page to build awareness about the various safety measures and in-built product features that empower users to take control of their safety.
The ‘Security Center’ will be available in English and 10 Indian languages — Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu, and Gujarati.
“Protecting personal messages with end-to-end encryption is one of the best lines of defence against scammers and fraudsters and in addition to that WhatsApp is consistently working on new and innovative ways to enhance people’s safety and privacy,” it said.
The new feature will inform users about the layers of privacy that WhatsApp provides and lists some top tips to give users more control over their accounts, including two-step verification, scams, and identifying fake accounts, among others.
Last month, WhatsApp launched an integrated safety campaign ‘Stay Safe with WhatsApp’ in India highlighting product features that empower users to take control of their online safety and ensure a safer messaging experience.
The campaign focused on educating users about WhatsApp’s safety features and tools like two-step Verification, block and report and privacy controls that equip people with the necessary safeguards to help protect them from online scams, frauds and account-compromising threats.
Apps2 weeks ago
Google Pay Rolls Out UPI Payments Support for RuPay Card Holders of These Banks: Details
Internet3 weeks ago
Elon Musk’s Lawyer Accuses Microsoft of ‘Unauthorised’ Usage of Twitter Data
Internet3 weeks ago
Apple Restricts Use of ChatGPT, Other AI Tools for Employees Over Concerns of Data Leak: Report
Science3 weeks ago
NASA Partners With Blue Origin to Build Spacecraft for Moon Mission
Internet3 weeks ago
Meta Announces New Details on Data Centers for AI Projects
Internet3 weeks ago
ED Seizes Rs. 8.26 Crore in Case Against Pigeon Education Technology, Alleges Firm Is Chinese-Owned
Internet3 weeks ago
EU Antitrust Regulators Quiz Microsoft’s Rivals on Request for Customer Data
Internet2 weeks ago
Australia to Regulate Buy Now, Pay Later Services as Consumer Credit Products With New Laws