Hello there! Happy new year to you and yours. This year, just as always, there is so much buzz around the tech ecosystem, and the most valuable startup in Africa, Flutterwave, is set to pick up where it left off in 2022, even as the holiday season ends and a new year begins.
For some tech workers, the excitement of returning to work was cut short by the news of layoffs that greeted them while they were having fun. For others, especially founders, it is a breath of fresh air that comes with the hope of achieving their goals.
Whichever case it is, we are here to give you an exciting roundup of all the major news that occurred in the tech ecosystem this week.
Good news! If you are an Apple brand lover, well, it’s good news for you. Apple is reportedly set to launch Virtual Reality (VR) headsets this year.
Nigerian unicorn, Flutterwave is part of a consortium looking to acquire Railsr, the British fintech company that has raised over $187 million in equity funding.
But with good news comes a little bit of maybe not-so-well-timed news. It is no secret by now that the tech industry had significant job cuts last year, with more than 97,000 announced across the sector, according to a report released last week from outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That’s up 649% from the nearly 13,000 tech jobs cut in 2021.
The hope that the layoffs will end soon has been blown off. Last week, Amazon said it would have to let go of 18,000 staff members, citing changing global economic outlook. This week, Coinbase announced that it would lay off 950 staff members.
If you missed these stories this week, don’t fret; we have covered the major details and curated them in this instalment of our weekly global roundup..
Summary of the bulletin
- Apple is reportedly planning to roll out a VR headset this year
- Flutterwave is looking at acquiring the British fintech, Railsr
- Coinbase said it would let go of 950 staff members
- Meta’s main content moderation partner in Africa, Sama, has shut down
- Apple is reportedly working on MacBooks with touchscreens
Read also: Visa to invest $1bn in Africa over 5 years as Microsoft targets internet expansion
Apple plans to roll out a VR headset this year
Apple lovers are set to be greeted with more innovation from the tech giants this year, with the company set to introduce VR headsets for its customers.
According to reports, Bloomberg recently reported that Apple would unveil its highly anticipated mixed reality headset this spring, with consumer deliveries beginning in fall 2023.
The report comes after comments from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who reported that software development and mechanical component issues had forced Apple to delay shipment to the latter half of 2023. Kuo also anticipated that Apple would announce its VR headset in the spring or at the company’s developer event, typically in June.
According to a CNBC report, Apple has already made a foray into mixed, virtual and augmented reality efforts on iOS and iPadOS, its iPhone and iPad operating systems. Apple’s software enables companies and developers to let users do anything from trying on glasses to model furniture purchases in their personal spaces.
But a prospective headset from Apple would mark an entrance into a new product line that would put Apple in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, which has spent billions of dollars, to the chagrin of investors, building out a vision for the metaverse.
Flutterwave set to make a new acquisition
Flutterwave. has reportedly made a step to make its first foreign acquisition of the year.
Flutterwave is reportedly part of a consortium looking to acquire Railsr, the British fintech company that has raised over $187 million in equity funding, Technext reports.
In February 2022, Flutterwave raised $250 million in a Series D round that tripled the company’s valuation to over $3 billion in just twelve months. This was a massive deal in the fintech space, and Flutterwave hopes for a better plan.
Formerly known as Railsbank, Railsr specializes in embedded financial solutions like banking, credit cards, and digital wallets. The firm has attracted the attention of possible purchasers, including rivals like Flutterwave and some of its investors who want to buy it.
Quoting an insider source, Sky News reported that “there was heavy competition for the asset” following the downturn that the Fintech industry experienced in 2022. A report by the Financial Times claimed that almost a trillion dollars had been lost from the valuation of FinTech companies.
Flutterwave’s CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, explained that the firm is looking to make and grow through acquisitions to further consolidate its authority in the fintech space.
Coinbase lays off 950 staff in the new year
The layoff trend that swept through last year has continued in the new year as tech workers are planning to make better decisions in this new year.
According to reports, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is getting ready to implement the third round of layoffs since the market collapse, which would result in the termination of roughly 950 employees from its payroll. Coinbase has had to reduce its workforce three times in the previous six months to account for the excesses of the current destabilizing crypto market.
The American-based cryptocurrency company, arguably one of the leading exchanges globally, is set to dismiss some more employees because the bear market has remained irrecoverable, it says.
According to the company, all impacted staff will be duly informed about the company management’s decision to ensure that the company does not collapse.
Among the many crypto exchanges that suffered hugely from the market’s winter spell and reportedly laid off their staffs the previous year due to the swirling gloom of the market’s backward drive are FTX, Celsius, and Voyager.
Sama terminates contract with Meta
Sama, Meta’s largest content moderation provider in Africa for policing harmful content on Meta’s platforms, has announced that it will be discontinuing its services for the tech giant and closing down its hub in the region by March of this year.
This announcement is coming one year after a TIME expose of the alleged underground secrets reportedly occurring in Sama’s office in Nairobi, Kenya, and the inhumane treatment of its African contract staff.
However, the official announcement states that Sama is suspending its services due to the unfavourable economic environment. The business intends to concentrate on computer vision data annotation—labelling work. A Meta representative verified the contract’s cancellation.
“We respect Sama’s decision to exit the content review services it provides to social media platforms. We’ll work with our partners during this transition to ensure there’s no impact on our ability to review content,” the statement from Meta reads in part.
Apple to introduce touchscreen MacBooks
Apple may finally bring touchscreens to MacBooks. According to Bloomberg, Apple is actively working on this project and may break away from its long-standing approach of designing a traditional desktop system without a touchscreen.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple may introduce touchscreen-equipped MacBooks by 2025 as part of a new MacBook Pro series. The 14-inch and 16-inch Pro models in this lineup may also see the business migrate from LCD to OLED panels.
Earlier in the week, another Bloomberg report indicated that the company aimed to make its screens for Apple Watch and iPhone. However, there was no mention of the company building displays for its Mac lineup.
The closest Apple ever got around bringing a touchscreen on a Mac was adding the TouchBar on the keyboard— which is slowly being phased out — on MacBook Pros.
Read also: Why Africa’s PC market experienced a historical decline of 37.2% in 2022
Technext will continue to bring the latest news updates in the tech space to you all days of the week, while the global round will provide a recap of all the major news at the end of every week.
Till next week, have a pleasant weekend.
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