Global Tech Roundup: Uber Acquires Postmates, Twitter’s Secret Subscription Plan and Others
Hi Guys! It’s the end of another busy week in the global tech space. A lot happened over the past few days, from stories of acquisitions to the launch of new products, funds raising and expansions.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories you might have missed.
Uber Acquires Postmates
Ride-sharing giant, Uber has acquired food-delivery app, Postmates in a $2.65 billion all-stock agreement. The new acquisition comes as the company seeks to increase its share of the world’s food delivery market.
The company had earlier missed the opportunity to acquire U.S. online food delivery company, Grubhub after Just Eat Takeaway.com reached a $7.3 billion agreement with them.
Founded in 2011, Postmates accounts for about 8% of the U.S. meal delivery market. With the new deal, Uber will seek to gain ground against current market leaders, DoorDash Inc.
Uber’s Vice president, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty is expected to continue to run Uber’s combined delivery business while Postmates will run as a separate service, still led by CEO Bastian Lehmann and his team.
Microsoft New Virtual Theater for Online Meetings
Microsoft has introduced Virtual ‘Theater’ Seating to help relieve the fatigue of video meetings. The new feature sits people in a virtual meeting side by side in auditorium-style tiers to make the meeting more interactive. It also makes it easier for participants to know who’s talking, or who is trying to talk.
Microsoft revealed that its internal testing found the new virtual mode has increased the time participants looked at others and choose to keep their cameras on. It also added that it helped participants better retain content and have a stronger memory of who attended big meetings.
The new development comes after the use of Microsoft Teams boomed following the adoption of remote working due to the pandemic and the subsequent battle with Zoom and Slack for corporate customers.
The theatre-style seating is called “together mode” feature and will be available to all users in August.
Twitter secret subscription platform
Twitter appears to be working on a subscription channel for its social media platform. A new job listing revealed that Twitter is recruiting for a new internal team, codenamed “Gryphon,” that is building a subscription platform.
However, it appears that Twitter will like its plans for a subscription service to remain secret as it adjusted and revised the job posting to remove mention of a potential subscription feature in development or the Gryphon team working on it.
The listing now says the company is simply looking for an Android engineer to “work on a bevvy of backend engineering teams to build components that allow for experimentation to deliver the best experience possible to all of our users.”
Twitter currently generates most of its revenue through ad sales and data licensing. However, if a subscription service is coming it would probably be in the form of providing exclusive content in return for a monthly fee.
Rocket Lab’s Electron Vehicle Launch Fails
Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle launch on Saturday ended in failure, causing a total loss of the vehicle and all 7 payloads. According to the company, the vehicle was lost to a failure during the second-stage burn after a successful lift-off.
Since, the beginning of the program, The company had flown 11 successful Electron missions before this unexpected failure. The CEO and founder of Rocket Lab, Peter Beck has apologized for the loss and explained that the team is working to identify the cause.
The lost payload includes Canon, which was flying a new Earth-imaging satellite with demonstration imaging tech on board, as well as Planet, which had five satellites for its newest and most advanced Earth-imaging constellation.
High Earth Orbit Robotic’s on-demand satellite maintenance
High Earth Orbit (HEO) Robotics, a new startup has developed a very clever solution that makes use of existing satellites to provide monitoring services for others.
HEO uses satellite images to check if satellites are oriented in the correct way and with all their payloads properly deployed
Maintaining satellites on orbit and ensuring they make full use of their operational lifespan isn’t always easy. Onboard instrumentation can provide satellite operators with a lot of diagnostic information but sometimes there are problems only an external view can properly identify.
HEO’s model employs cameras already on orbit mounted on Earth-observation satellites operated by partner companies. The companies use the cameras to collect images on the satellites of its customers, to ensure good working order while generating revenue from unused Earth-imaging satellite time during downtime.
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