At a time when fake news is considered to be real news and when people are pointing out flaws in every aspect, it comes as no surprise that controversies and scam haven’t spared even the startup world! While this year saw major acquisitions and mishaps, it also saw controversies of a different kind. Here’s our yearly wrap up of what happened in the controversial world of 2018!
1. Everything about the Walmart and Flipkart deal
Even before the Walmart takeover, Flipkart was already doing really well. From securing $ 5 billion through multiple investments in 2017, to doing really well in different investment series in a given time, Flipkart’s market position was quite strong at the time. While Sachin Bansal stepping down as CEO was written in the cards from the very beginning, Binny Bansal’s exit came as a result of an issue which took place over 2 years. Binny Bansal, the ex CEO of Flipkart, was being blackmailed by a co worker he was involved with and the only way he saw fit to resolve the problem was by stepping away from the company. To make matters interesting, prior to the takeover by Walmart, the Flipkart CEOs were also accused of evading tax!
2. The Paytm Data Leak Controversy
Ranked number two on the list of the most successful startups in India, Paytm has been embroiled in its fair share of controversies. Primarily formed as a digital payments company, Paytm grew by 10 times since the day it was founded to where it is today. However, despite being one of the first Indian startups to secure an investment from Berkshire Hathaway, Paytm stayed on the headlines for being involved in multiple controversies. The first major issue was Vijay Shekhar Sharma admitting on video he had shared data with the Prime Minister of India without obtaining consent from the users. While this issue cleared in due time, another one promptly popped up. Paytm again hit the headlines because of the data extortion case levied against the Vice President of Corporate Communications, Paytm, Sonia Dhawan, her husband Roopak Jain, another Paytm employee, Devendra Kumar and his friend, Rohit Chomal. The four of them were accused of creating a plan to extort $1.4 million from Vijay, threatening to release the “personal data” in public otherwise. A typical case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire, right? Three of the four accused are still in jail and are waiting for their case to be heard.
3. The Huawei controversy
Over the last few years, Huawei has been trying to expand all over the United States. However, in the beginning of 2018, a lot of almost sure deals started falling through, citing international political concerns as a major issue. Initially expected to sign major deals with major telecommunication companies like Verizon, Wireless and AT&T, the deals fell through without a warning of any kind. The reasons are attributed to Huawei’s alleged ties with the Chinese Government, which a lot of people saw as a threat, especially in the United States.
4. The Apple affair
Despite being all about introducing a series of new phones in this last year, Apple was involved in quite a heated controversy. Recently, Apple was in the headlines not for the phones released by the company, but for the fact that Apple was accused of “throttling.” Simply defined, throttling is defined as a process wherein the makers slow down the performance of older iPhones to save the phones’ battery life. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook came forward with a public statement saying they should have been more forward and transparent about the practice, the response was considered to be less than satisfactory. Furthermore, one of the major reasons throttling was a concern was the indirect push it gave people to constantly upgrade to new iPhones. The status of this issue now is, two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Services, are investing the case.
5. The Xerox and Fujifilm Holdings deal
Early in the year (on January 31, 2018, to be precise,) Xerox agreed to enter a merger with Fujifilm Holdings wherein Fujifilm would have a major stake in Xerox. Furthermore, the deal was expected to touch the $ 18 billion mark in the printer industry. However, the deal quickly turned sour with all the fights and quarrels that took place over the deal. Finally, after a long drawn out battle, the reinstated board of Xerox backed off from the deal. Now, Fujifilm is filing a lawsuit of $ 1 billion against Xerox, saying they were facing major damages with regards to the breach of contract!
The year 2018 certainly was interesting, especially when related to all the controversies in the startup world. If you think we missed out on any other issues such as these, comment and let us know!
India’s Reliance JioMeet To Take On Zoom
Mukesh Ambani seems to be having one of the best years of his career, proving that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a hindrance to his goals. Mukesh Ambani’s latest product is a video conferencing app which aims to take on the hottest video conferencing app, Zoom. The telecommunications vertical of Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio, formally launched Reliance JioMeet, on Thursday evening, which has an uncanny resemblance to Zoom.
Zoom has emerged as one of the companies which has thrived due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses are forced to shut down their offices and shift their operations to remote work. This meant the demand for a good video conferencing software shot up and Zoom stepped up to the task before Google, Microsoft and Facebook could catch up. Zoom has also removed time limits for the conference calls and made the entire suite free of cost for schools and businesses in the affected regions across the globe, thereby further increasing its popularity.
However, JioMeet has a similar if not better offering than Zoom. JioMeet offers unlimited number of free calls in high definition (720p) to users and supports as many as 100 participants on a call. Interestingly, JioMeet appears to not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration. Jio Platforms says a free call can be uninterrupted for “up to 24 hours” long. The service currently has no paid plans and considering Jio’s reputation for giving services for free for years like Jio data plans, it would come as no surprise if JioMeet is also made free for the time being.
JioMeet comes at the perfect time as the Indian government suggested that Indians need to aggressively work on homegrown technologies and develop them so that they are on par with technologies developed by global giants. The government has called for leading Indian software and IT companies to come up with an alternative for Zoom and it looks like Jio has stepped up to the task.
Infosys Considering Permanent Work From Home For 30% Or More Employees
In what could be considered as a game changing move if it becomes a reality, Infosys is considering the idea to permanently let about one third of its employees to work from home. Infosys is considered as one of the leading companies in the software and Information Technology (IT) sector in India, as well as the world. This Indian IT giant is always at the forefront of innovation and setting new market trends for others to follow.
Many companies and organizations across the globe and India have been forced to shift to a remote working model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to work remotely is because the virus is highly contagious and can spread very quickly. Infosys might become one of the first companies to consider a plan for transitioning a large part of its employees into remote work, permanently.
In an interview with a popular business news daily, Infosys’s Head of Human Resources and Executive Vice President, Richard Lobo said “Once things are normal, over a period of time, probably 50 per cent of employees will come to office and the rest will work from home. Moving on, 66 per cent will be in office but 33 per cent will work permanently from home (sic.)” This translates to roughly 80,000 employees out of its total workforce of 2,42,371 employees. As offices are opening up gradually, Infosys has currently about 5 percent of its workforce going to offices in India while the rest are working from home. Commenting on the plan of action for the next few months Lobo said “we can’t predict the course of the pandemic but if it is following the path that it is, for most countries and if everything goes well, a third of total employees will come back to office (sic.)”
However, Infosys is not the only company mulling over transitioning into permanent work from home model. Another Indian IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced a whopping 75% of its 4,48,000 employees globally would be working from home by 2025.
Let us know if you think the work from home model will be adapted by various other companies in the future post COVID-19!
Target Sets A Benchmark By Raising Minimum Wage
Target Corporation is a well known organisation in the United States of America (USA) as one of leading retail chains in the Country. Target is always at the forefront of retail innovation and competes with its rival, Walmart to gain an upper hand. However, in a recent operational move Target has one upped its competitors when it announced it would raise its minimum wage from $ 13 an hour to $ 15 an hour permanently beginning from July. The increase to 15 dollars an hour is significant as it impacts 275,000 employees that work in their stores and distribution centers. Target has nearly 1,900 stores and 41 distribution centers.
The significance of its move is very high as it comes at a time when the world is battling its worst pandemic in years which has led to businesses shutting down, offices and governments declaring emergencies and lockdown. The decision to increase the minimum wage comes at a time when the world is celebrating retail store workers for their essential services and this move will only strengthen the employee loyalty while increasing the brand value of Target.
However, the decision to implement the minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour was announced in 2017 as a goal by Target Corporation. The employees of Target already received a temporary wage pay when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and now the minimum wage pay is made permanent. The retail corporation will also offer a one time bonus of $ 200 to hourly employees at the end of July “for their efforts throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The new minimum wage by Target is also important considering that the Federal average minimum wage in the USA is $ 7.25 per hour. The hourly wages at Walmart is at $ 11 per hour and although Walmart has been paying hourly bonuses to employees during the pandemic, it has ceased to do so in the recent weeks.
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