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Amarcast India Tech News 4th August 2020: Tiktok Mess in US, Dunzo raises $30mn, Whatsapp search the web

Amarcast Tech News Update 4th August 2020

1. TikTok in US: Washington’s ultimatum to the Chinese owner of TikTok—sell the app’s U.S. operations or leave the country—is hardening long-held suspicions in China that the U.S. aims to sabotage the country’s efforts to grow its technology, while raising concerns about the precedent it could set for Chinese companies with global ambitions as U.S.-China relations unravel.

After months in which TikTok owner Bytedance Ltd. fought to appease the Trump administration, Washington’s push for Bytedance to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp. means China will likely lose control over its first true global internet sensation—one with ambitions of becoming a top-tier global technology giant—in its most important market


Chinas reaction:  After vowing to ban the popular short-video sharing app TikTok in the United States on Friday, the US president is reportedly weighing the advantages of allowing Microsoft to purchase its US operations.

Such shilly-shallying is a tactic the US administration employed during the trade deal negotiations with China.

The tactic involves the president promising punishment for some perceived wrongdoing, followed by indications from other administration officials that the punishment might not be forthcoming. This is followed soon after by some close to the president saying that he intends to make good on his threat, sparking a sharp rise in tensions again. All with the aim of getting what the US administration wants.

Trump Wants Money for US treasury:  President Trump said twice yesterday that the U.S. Treasury would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval.

Why it matters: This is akin to extortion — the sort of thing you’d expect to hear on a wiretap, not from the White House in front of reporters.

Trump has claimed that his threats to ban TikTok, and the furious M&A process it spawned, are based on national security concerns.

Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase: Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.

Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.

2. Whatsapp Search the Web feature: WhatsApp provides a special forwarded label to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times. These two arrows  help people know when they’ve received a message that was not written by a close contact. Earlier this year, we set limits on how many times they can be sent at once to maintain the private nature of WhatsApp.

Today, we’re piloting a simple way to double check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat. Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received.

3. Dunzo to raise $30mn: Hyperlocal logistics company Dunzo is in advanced talks to raise a $30 million internal round from existing backers, according to three sources aware of the development. 

If the deal goes through, the fresh equity financing round for the Bengaluru-based company will be after 9-10 months.

According to the sources, Dunzo has been in the market since March-April for a fresh round. “The deal is almost done and it will be announced soon. The round may go up to 50-60 million if new investors join the round,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity. “Aspada Ventures will lead the round at a valuation of $250 million. Lightbox, Google, and STIC will join on a pro-rata basis,” the person added.

4. Trump signs executive order against hiring H-1B visa holders for federal contracts: In a huge blow to Indian IT professionals eyeing the US job market, President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order preventing federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers – mainly those on H-1B visa – from hiring. The move came over a month after the Trump administration on June 23 suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year. The new restrictions took effect from June 24.


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