Bank of London considers rescue bid for UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank

Godfrey Elimian
Bank of London considers rescue bid for UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank

Hello there! Welcome to another roundup of the major global tech news this week.

Startup-focused lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) Financial Group became the largest retail bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis.

This collapse has roiled global markets and left billions of dollars belonging to companies and investors stranded. Reuters calculates that U.S. banks have lost over $100 billion in stock market value, and European banks have shed another $50 billion in value over the past two days. However, the Bank of London is reportedly considering a move to save the London arm of SVB.

Apple released the new yellow iPhone 14 and 14 Plus in the same week that reports emerged that Michael Abbott, the company’s top executive in charge of cloud initiatives, including iCloud and the infrastructure for services like iMessage and FaceTime, is leaving the company.

Elon Musk and Twitter have consistently made the front pages of news and blog platforms this week for either good or not-so-good reasons. At the beginning of the week, the company reported a 40% drop in revenue and adjusted earnings for December after many advertisers ditched the social media platform.

However, Musk claims that the company’s finances are improving to the point that the social media company could soon return to posting positive cash flow next quarter as the chief executive attempts to cut costs, lure back advertisers and navigate the platform’s woes. The platform suffered another significant outage a few days ago, with various elements going down.

These and more are included in this week’s global tech news roundup instalment. If you missed these news items, enjoy this curated roundup.

Summary of the bulletin

  • Twitter reports a 40% drop in revenue amidst Musk’s statement of hope
  • Apple releases new yellow colour iPhone 14 and 14 Plus; Michael Abbot leaves the company
  • Silicon Valley Bank Collapses, biggest retail bank failure since 2008
  • Spotify introduces a new Tik-Tok-like video feed for its app
  • Apple announces the launch of a standalone app, Apple Music Classical

Read also: TikTok reduces screen time for users under 18

Silicon Valley Bank Collapses, Bank of London could step in

Silicon Valley Bank, known for lending money to some of the biggest technology startups, collapsed on Friday, sending investors and depositors into a frenzy.

Silicon Valley Bank collapses, as Apple releases yellow-coloured iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

As per CNN, California regulators closed down the tech lender and put it under the control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC acts as a receiver, which means it will liquidate the bank’s assets to pay back its customers, including depositors and creditors.

The FDIC said all insured depositors would have full access to their insured deposits by no later than Monday morning. It said it would pay uninsured depositors an “advance dividend within the next week.”

The wheels reportedly started to come off on Wednesday, when SVB announced it had sold a bunch of securities at a loss and that it would sell $2.25 billion in new shares to shore up its balance sheet. That triggered a panic among key venture capital firms, who reportedly advised companies to withdraw their money from the bank.

The company’s stock cratered on Thursday, dragging other banks down. By Friday morning, SVB’s shares were halted, and it had abandoned efforts to raise capital or find a buyer quickly. Several other bank stocks, including First Republic, PacWest Bancorp, and Signature Bank, were temporarily halted Friday.

British clearing bank The Bank of London is considering a rescue bid for the UK arm of collapsed U.S. bank Silicon Valley Bank (SIVB.O), Sky News reported on Saturday.

The report said the British bank has appointed investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners to advise it on its interest in Silicon Valley Bank UK Limited (SVB UK), citing a source familiar with the matter.

Apple releases yellow-coloured iPhone 14

It is good news for Apple users with an appreciation for the Yellow colour. The company is making the yellow iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus available for users. The company already offers these devices in midnight (black), starlight, red, blue and purple.

Apple releases yellow-coloured iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

“People love their iPhone and rely on it every day for all that they do, and now there’s an exciting addition to the lineup with a new yellow iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Devices with the new colours are available for preorder from March 10 and will be available starting March 14 in-store and online.

The other big news from Apple this week is that Michael Abbott, the top executive in charge of cloud initiatives, including iCloud and the infrastructure for services like iMessage and FaceTime, is reportedly leaving the company, adding to recent departures. 

According to unidentified sources familiar with the matter. Michael Abbott is stepping down in April. He will be the second top lieutenant to services chief Eddy Cue to leave this year, joining a growing list of company vice presidents who have departed the iPhone maker in late 2022 and early 2023.

Apple releases yellow-coloured iPhone 14 and 14 Plus
Michael Abbot

As Apple’s vice president of cloud engineering, he’s in charge of the service, iCloud Mail and new features like iCloud data encryption. He also runs the company’s platform that powers iCloud, key communication services, the Find My feature and Emergency SOS on iPhones.

Abbott’s responsibilities will be taken over by Jeff Robbin, who is regarded as one of Apple’s most senior engineering leaders and credited with creating iTunes. Robbin has long managed engineering for several service offerings under Cue.

Twitter records revenue drop

Twitter Inc. reported a drop in revenue and adjusted earnings for December after many advertisers ditched the social-media platform following Elon Musk’s takeover.

Apple releases yellow-coloured iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

The report comes after several advertisers slashed their spending on the social media platform after Elon Musk took charge of the company on Oct. 27, resulting in a 71% drop in advertising spend on Twitter during December, data from advertising research firm—Standard Media Index showed.

The Information reported that Amazon has threatened to withhold payment for ads the company runs on Twitter because the micro-blogging platform has refused to pay its Amazon Web Services bills for cloud computing services for months.

The company has paid the first interest on the $12.5 billion in debt that Elon Musk used to take the dominant social media company private last year. Yet Musk has publicly asserted that as he works to cut expenses, win back advertisers, and address the platform’s technical issues, Twitter’s financial situation is improving to the point that the social media business may once again have positive cash flow in the upcoming quarter.

“The natural potential here for Twitter revenue is gigantic,” Musk said.

Spotify introduces a new TikTok-like video feed

With their latest introduction, it seems Spotify wants users to discover their next favourite artist on its platform, not on TikTok or YouTube, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Swedish music-streaming company on Wednesday introduced a new video feed for its app at Spotify’s Stream On event in LA. The feature aims to recommend music, podcasts and audiobooks to users via short clips, similar to TikTok and YouTube Shorts. The company also introduced a significant redesign of its app, capitalising on its personalisation technology investments.

Per TechCrunch, in the updated Spotify mobile app, users and subscribers will gain access to a handful of new features, including the vertically scrolling “discovery” feeds, a new “Smart Shuffle” mode for playlist recommendations, a new podcast autoplay feature and more.

The new feeds inspired by TikTok will be available to everyone, while features like Smart Shuffle will only be accessible to subscribers. The features’ accessibility, however, will arrive at various intervals and in some markets before others.

Apple launches standalone app, Apple Music Classical

Apple announced on Thursday that it would launch a standalone app called Apple Music Classical, which will be available at no added cost to existing Apple Music subscribers, on March 28.

Many classical pieces have had multiple renditions and interpretations recorded and released. Apple says the standalone app will offer “complete and accurate metadata” and the ability to “search by composer, work, conductor, or even catalogue number,” according to a release.

In August 2021, the corporation purchased Primephonic, a highly regarded classical music streaming service. According to a statement made at the time by Apple, users would “get a significantly improved classical music experience beginning with Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content.”

According to Apple, the catalogue will debut with thousands of exclusive albums and more than five million unique tracks. You’ll need an internet connection to access Apple Music Classical.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!