Government‘s bid to get private companies to develop UPI-like technologies

Shopper making a mobile payment using QR Code. Photo by David Dvořáček on Unsplash

On 8 November 2016, Indian PM Narendra Modi made an unscheduled television address to announce the demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes.

There were prolonged cash shortages across the country and many people were left stranded in long queues outside banks trying to exchange invalid notes. India’s stock market, industrial output, employment rate, and GDP growth rate fell. Despite all this, the government still wasn’t able to achieve its mission— crackdown on black money — as nearly 99 percent of the demonetized currency was deposited back into the banking system.

But there was a silver lining. Amidst all this chaos…

And what it means for user privacy and content censorship

Photo by Naveed Ahmed on Unsplash

Last month, the Indian government issued multiple orders to Twitter to block certain tweets and accounts in relation to the ongoing farmers' protest. Twitter complied with the orders and blocked nearly 250 accounts, including accounts of investigative journalism outlets, activist groups, and prominent politicians.

These accounts, however, were restored within hours after Twitter faced a public outcry over political censorship. But the government doubled down by issuing a non-compliance notice and threatening jail time for officials.

Following this, Twitter once again blocked multiple accounts, but held its ground on accounts related to “news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians” saying…

Tech giants continue setting up production in India

Last September, I wrote an in-depth piece on whether Apple will ever choose India over China. This was, and still remains, a challenging question because the US tech giant carries out nearly 90 percent of its manufacturing in China.

However, a number of reasons contributed to Apple’s interest in India: Trump’s trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, both of which affected Apple’s supply chain in China, attractive financial incentives provided by the Indian government, and the tremendous potential that India’s 1.3 billion strong population holds for Apple’s future.

Apple began expanding its manufacturing in India in late 2019 when Foxconn…

Small businesses are left with no reprieve in sight unless JioMart changes things

In 1968, my grandfather set up a small hardware and electronics store, laying the foundation for a family business that grew and flourished over the next 50 years. But things have changed in the last couple of years. From thriving in competition, we’ve gone to just about surviving.

The problems faced by my family business are not much different from what small businesses and mom-and-pop stores around the world face: predatory pricing by deep-pocketed, e-commerce companies. Predatory pricing is a strategy in which dominant firms deliberately reduce prices to loss-making levels in the short term to force other players out…

The 12,000 satellite Starlink constellation could fund rocket development by selling faster, worldwide internet service

A satellite tracker image is seen displayed on a smartphone with a Starlink logo in the background
A satellite tracker image is seen displayed on a smartphone with a Starlink logo in the background
Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is the first private company to launch a reused rocket, to complete a resupply mission to the International Space Station, and, in 2020, to launch humans into orbit. Its reusable rockets allow the company to charge some of the cheapest rates available for carrying space cargo, and its spaceships have successfully ferried astronauts to the ISS for a fraction of what it cost predecessors. But Musk has far greater ambitions for his company, including building bigger rockets, bringing down cargo costs further, and most famously, transporting the first humans to Mars.

Still, even…

One in four subscribers to Disney+ is from Hotstar, India’s largest streaming platform

A Disney+ and Hotstar company logo seen displayed on a smartphone
A Disney+ and Hotstar company logo seen displayed on a smartphone
Photo: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Like so many other companies, Disney appeared destined to exit 2020 with a trail of disappointments, disasters, and crises needing management. The pandemic forced the company to shutter its revenue-generating theme parks, delay the release of highly anticipated movies in cinemas, and lay off thousands of employees. But while these events triggered huge quarterly losses and harmed public perception of the iconic entertainment giant, the company was able to simultaneously lean into its Disney+ streaming platform — fortuitously launched in November 2019 — as a much-needed lifeline and its brightest light at the end of the tunnel.

Before its launch…

And how its impact extends beyond the 48 hours

In just five years since its introduction, Amazon Prime Day has become one of the most anticipated sales extravaganzas on the retail calendar, finding its place among long-established shopping events like Labor Day and Black Friday.

Source: Amazon

Prime Day Over The Years

Amazon introduced Prime Day on the eve of its 20th birthday in 2015 with the goal of offering unmatched discounts to its loyal Prime members. The 24-hour event, spanning nine countries, was an immediate success as the company sold more items than it did during Black Friday 2014. Many sellers saw record-breaking unit sales and the Instant Pot, a multi-functioning pressure cooker, became an…

From Ankhi Das to Shivnath Thukral, will anything change?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Earlier in August, The Wall Street Journal published a revelatory report on Facebook’s biased hate-speech rules in India. An Indian politician belonging to the ruling BJP party repeatedly expressed anti-Muslim rhetoric on the platform, going as extreme as saying Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot and mosques should be demolished. Facebook’s content policing team had concluded that this not only violated the company’s hate speech rules but also advised that he should be permanently banned from the platform under the company's, “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy.

Yet, months after this conclusion, this politician was active on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook…

Microsoft’s recent experiment shows that this is not just feasible, but also practical

Earlier this summer, Microsoft made an unusual call to some marine specialists asking for their help to retrieve a shipping-container sized capsule from the seafloor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. After an intricate performance by ropes and winches attached to a gantry crane, out came a data center covered in algae, barnacles, and sea anemones. The Microsoft team was “pretty impressed with how clean it was.” While most electronics go kaput with the slightest water spillage, this one thrived in it.

Marine specialists retrieve the data center from the seafloor off the Orkney Islands. Source: Microsoft

This bizarre endeavor is the brainchild of Microsoft’s Project Natick team. This team is studying the feasibility and practicality of…

As the pandemic pushes the tech giant to diversify its supply chain, India is eager to take up the mantle

Employees at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China on May 26, 2010. Photo: Qilai Shen/Getty Images

An interesting thought experiment emerged when Trump hastily banned TikTok in the United States and sent it on a hunt for an American buyer: What would happen if President Xi Jinping cited similar security reasons and forced Apple to sell its China operations?

Apple’s soaring share price would come crashing down, and its future would be thrown into disarray, because China is not just Apple’s largest revenue source after the United States and Europe; it’s also home to a huge portion of Apple’s supply chain. …

Sarvesh Mathi

freelance technology writer |

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