October 25, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Roundup. This Week: Nigeria’s power sector regulator suspends new tariffs; Google to charge 30% off transactions on its PlayStore; Walmart grows its Health offerings with Clover Health and interesting features coming to Microsoft Teams.

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  • The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has issued an Order suspending the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2020. This order effectively puts a hold on the upwardly reviewed electricity tariffs across the 11 power distribution companies starting September 1st. Link

 

Why This is Important: This is a mixed signal, a worrying one at that to potential and future investors in Nigeria’s power sector. It portrays it as one where market forces and competition are not allowed to determine prices of services despite the need for capital to grow and increase the capacity of the sector.

 

  • In what seems to be a race to join Apple to monetize platforms, Google, owners of the PlayStore on Android phones has announced a mandatory 30% charge/commission on every in-app purchase starting from September 2021. To be fair on them, Google has had this monetization policy in place for a long while. We could recall in a previous edition of the RoundUp, we looked at this topic and a fallout from it, which is developers considering a formation of developers union or consortium. Link

 

Why This is Important: There has been the concern about with Apple, and now, Google, on how it arrived at this 30%. What cost structures made 30% the magic number?  Again, this is a clear case of a duopolistic market situation which usually involves collusion among two major sellers of a product/service to extract value and maintain platform dominance.

Google looks a bit benevolent here by giving ample notice to developers and gamers to do a proper housekeeping before September 2021.  On a second thought, seeing Google has had this policy in place before now, we wonder plans it could have to attract more developers to its Store.

  • After signing a 5yr partnership agreement with Microsoft aimed at digitally transforming its work, which also entailed the use Of Microsoft Azure and 365, Walmart has continued to improve its service offering. It has quietly increased its Health offerings by partnering with Clover Health to help seniors access healthcare starting from as low as $40. Link

 

Why This is Important: This is Amazon broadening its range of offerings and gradually squaring up a frontal competition with Amazon. It launched Walmart+ few months again, a substitute to Amazon’s Prime. In August, Walmart did something similar with a partnership with Instacart, the grocery delivery leader. The partnership, which gives it a bit of an edge against Amazon prime gave Walmart an avenue to test run such service in 4 markets across California and Oklahoma.

Using CloverHealth, it could be using partnerships as a market entry strategy instead of a total build out of new services on its own with the following risks and costs involved.

For the seniors, they may warm up to this service as Walmart has come to be a trusted brand over a better part of their lives.

 

 

  • Microsoft Teams has announced plans for quite a number of updates to the service starting from this October. Quite notable but not limited to these features is the Breakout Sessions. As the name suggests, this allows participants in a meeting to go into smaller, focused groups. Link

 

Why This is Important: Microsoft Teams is steadily getting better and gaining users with these features. Beside the Breakout Sessions, it plans and admits to our present reality due to the pandemic with a ‘New Together’ mode. This mode allows a user set the meeting tone to either an auditorium, a conference room or, a coffee shop.

Recognizing that with the new means of collaborating, people lose attention quite easily, it also brings a Meeting Recap feature to Teams with recordings, transcripts, chats and other feedback/playback tools.

Importantly, later this year, it now targets very well larger teams by increasing the meeting capacity to 25,000 from the current 10,000 mark.

 

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