Hello there! First of all, I apologize for keeping you from reading your weekly roundup of the biggest stories happening across the world these past two weeks. But we’ve curated the biggest tech stories that you might have missed this week as usual.
These past few weeks have seen the tech ecosystem witness quite a downward trajectory that have forced them to make costly sacrifices. The layoff trend continued with African fintech unicorn, Chipper Cash laying off about 12.5% of its staff. That was quickly followed by the company’s valuation being slashed from $2b valuation to $1.25b by FTX.
In other stories, Amazon has launched Inspire, a TikTok-like shopping feed that supports both photos and videos, which is expected to provide viable competition like Tik-Tok. These and more is contained on this week’s global roundup.
Summary of the Bulletin
- Chipper cash lays off 12.5% of its staffs
- Amazon launches Tik-Tok like shopping feed, Inspire
- Twitter to charge $11 on iOS for Blue subscription
- Nick Read said he will step down as CEO of Vodafone
- Theranos executive faces 13 year sentence
Chipper Cash latest victim of the layoff season
Layoffs are becoming a trend globally with several tech giants having to cut their workforce and operating costs due to biting economic conditions. In this part of the globe, it is becoming even more severe.
Chipper Cash, the company that has raised over $302.2 million in funding since its launch in 2018, becomes the latest company to follow the suit of laying off its staff due to current economic woes.
The payments provider, this week according to its vice president of engineering, Erin Fusaro, laid off a significant amount of its IT and engineering workforce.
“This morning a significant amount of Chipper staff were let go in a layoff. While I was not among them, many of my close colleagues and friends were. If you’re looking for talented engineering leadership, engineers, technical program managers, analysts, or IT staff…,” Erin Fusaro, the VP of Engineering at Chipper Cash said in her LinkedIn post earlier this week.
Amazon to compete with Tik-Tok with new launch
A TikTok-like shopping experience is coming to the Amazon app.
Inspire, a new short-form video and photo feed that enables users to browse items and ideas and make purchases from content made by influencers, brands, and other users, has been launched, the firm announced this week.
The purpose of the new product is to divert consumers’ attention away from TikTok and other apps where brands may directly market to users in order to increase sales on Amazon.com.
The launch comes after testing was conducted earlier this year. It was discovered that Amazon was experimenting with a TikTok-like shopping stream in its app, which at the time had its own navigation button at the bottom.
In the version launching now, that high-level placement in the main navigation remains the same; however, the Inspire feed will now be accessible with a tap of a light bulb icon instead of the diamond icon that was seen in tests.
The company said the shopping function will initially roll out to select consumers in the U.S. in early December, and will become freely available to all U.S. customers in the months that follow.
Twitter to charge $11 on iOS for Blue subscription
The Information reports that Twitter has informed some employees that it plans to change the pricing of its Twitter Blue subscription product to $7 if users pay for it through the web and $11 if they do so through its app for iPhones, according to a person briefed on the plans.
Previously, Twitter had stated that it will charge $7.99 for Twitter Blue, which at the time was exclusively obtainable through the Apple App Store.
The price adjustment is probably a result of Apple’s 30% share of app revenue for iOS, the operating system for iPhones and iPads. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, started attacking Apple late last month over the company’s commissions on platform transactions and claimed that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store.
Musk later backed away from those criticisms following a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Nick Read to step down as CEO of Vodafone
Nick Read will step down as Vodafone chief executive by the end of the year, ending a four-year tenure during which the British telecom group’s share price has nearly halved.
As the former market leader in mobile telecoms, Read guided the company through the pandemic, sold assets to sharpen its focus on Europe and Africa, and spun off its tower infrastructure business into a separate unit.
Despite the changes, Vodafone’s shares have remained in the doldrums. They are down more than 40% since Read took over in October 2018, trading at the same level as two decades ago.
“I agreed with the board that now is the right moment to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone’s strengths and capture the significant opportunities ahead”Nick Read
He will be replaced on an interim basis by his finance director,
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone’s interim finance director, has been given the goal of expediting “the execution of the company’s strategy to improve operational performance and deliver shareholder value.” Vodafone’s board was dissatisfied with Read’s lack of progress in generating growth..
Once one of the biggest mobile operators in the world, Vodafone has been selling assets to focus on Europe and Africa, but the deals have not arrested its stock’s decline.
Theranos executive faces 13 years sentence
Ramesh Balwani, the former chief operating officer of the failed blood-testing start-up Theranos, was sentenced on Wednesday to nearly 13 years in prison for defrauding investors and patients about the company’s business and technology, the New York Times reports.
With devices and tests that could diagnose some ailments with just a few drops of blood, Mr. Balwani, 58, and his guilty co-conspirator, Elizabeth Holmes, 38, the founder of Theranos, had boasted that the start-up would transform healthcare.
However, such assertions turned out to be untrue, and Theranos became a parable of Silicon Valley hype and ambition gone wild.
Mr. Balwani, also known as Sunny, was convicted in July of 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Judge Edward J. Davila of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sentenced Mr. Balwani to 155 months, which is 12 years and 11 months, as well as three years of supervised release. Mr. Balwani must surrender to custody on March 15.
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