Apple’s WWDC updates, Spotify video, TikTok’s marketing platform, Amazon live TV, Figma and ByteDance case studies, Product frameworks, more.

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

~$4B: Wirecard owes its creditors ~$4B. Visa and Mastercard are considering whether to revoke Wirecard’s ability to process payments on their networks; such moves would effectively end Wirecard’s operations; comes as the German firm files for insolvency amid accounting scandal in which ~$2.1B has disappeared from the company’s balance sheet

$1B: Amazon to acquire driverless tech firm Zoox for more than $1B; Zoox’s previous valuation was $3.2B; an official announcement is expected soon; Zoox has raised $990M to date

£500M: The UK government has committed to invest £500M in satellite broadband company OneWeb; Britain will hold a ~20% stake in OneWeb; the London-based firm has previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it failed to secure ~$2B in funding

$500M: Indonesia-based e-commerce firm Tokopedia secures ~$500M from Temasek as part of a new funding round; Tokopedia is also in talks with SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Alibaba, and others; the company is aiming to raise as much as $1.5B

£400M: Huawei is expected to receive permission to build a £400M R&D facility in the UK; the site, near Cambridge, will be used for chip development; unclear when it will be built

$180M: Alphabet is in the final stages of acquiring Ontario-based smart glasses company North for $180M; follows dismal sales of North’s Focals product, despite a 40% price cut at the beginning of 2019; North stopped selling Focals in December, saying it would prioritize Focals 2.0 and that the product would be the most significant in the category; previously raised $200M

$80M: Thailand-based fintech firm Synqa Holdings (formerly Omise) raises ~$80M led by SCB 10X and Sparx Group with participation from Toyota; Synqa offers online payments tools to enterprise customers; has raised more than $105M to date

€70M: French workplace benefits firm Swile (formerly Lunchr) raises €70M Series C led by Index Ventures; the company offers prepaid meal cards for employees; Swile will use the funding to expand into gift cards; will also move into new markets; has raised ~$125M to date

€20M: French fintech firm Memo Bank (formerly Margo Bank) raises €20M from BlackFin Capital Partners, Daphni, Bpifrance, and others; the yet-to-launch challenger bank is set to exclusively focus on SMEs with revenues of over $2M per year

35%: A US-centric survey by the Anti-Defamation League finds 35% of respondents have experienced online harassment because of their race, religion, or sexual identity; 65% of LGBTQ+ reported dealing with such instances; the figures are 42% for Muslim respondents, and 37% for African-American respondents

30%: Square is temporarily withholding 20-30% of transactions for thousands of SMEs; Square says it holds onto partial sums in case customers seek a refund; 1.3k businesses have recently signed a petition calling on the company to end the practice

5.3%: Research firm eMarketer predicts Google’s US ad revenue will drop 5.3% this year because of the coronavirus pandemic; it expects the company will generate $39.6B in US ad sales, which compares with $41.8B last year

📰 What’s going on

TikTok announces a marketing solutions platform; TikTok for Business provides access to its various ad products and formats; the company is also rolling out a learning center to help marketers better understand TikTok and its offerings

Spotify is set to add a video feature to the Now Playing section of its mobile apps; the section will ostensibly feature music videos, which is similar to rival service YouTube Music: it’s unknown when Spotify will roll it out

The Central Bank of Brazil blocks WhatsApp’s peer-to-peer payments feature; monetary officials say the move is designed to ensure an “adequate competitive environment”; WhatsApp rolled out the service in Brazil earlier this month

Apple acquires device management and security company Fleetsmith; terms undisclosed; the startup automates device setup, patching, and more for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV; Fleetsmith said it would continue to serve existing customers; previously raised $41M

Numerous companies say they will stop advertising on Facebook through the month of July in protest against the platforms moderation practices; Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Magnolia Pictures, Verizon, Unilever and others are calling on Facebook to do more to tackle hate speech

Facebook announces a notification pop-up that will warn users attempting to share stories older than 90 days; the window will provide options to go back or proceed with sending; the company said sharing old information out of context had contributed to misinformation campaigns and said news publishers had expressed concern about the practice

Microsoft announces new consumer focused features for Teams; includes the ability to share calendars, docs, locations, lists, and more; Microsoft says the features will roll out in preview over the coming weeks

“Hey”, a $99-a-year premium email service led by the creator of Ruby on Rails and the founder of Basecamp, launched last week to positive coverage. The app got approved by Apple after sticking to some of its store rules, yet has not adopted Apple’s own in-app payment system or allowed users to sign up for its full, paid service through the iOS app

CityMapper accelerates expansion. After extending their services country-wide in Switzerland and Netherlands, the company will launch 12 new US cities in July, and aims for +100 new locations before end of 2020

Uber partners with Marin Transit (Marin County, California), represents its first SaaS partnership with any transit agency in the world. Uber is opening up its platform with a partnership to bring on-demand public transport options into the Uber app

YouTube announces its testing a mobile feature that enables users to create 15-second-long, multi-clip videos; the feature seeks to compete with TikTok and Instagram’s Reels; selected mobile users will see the option to create a video when beginning the upload process; currently, the feature replaces the option to create videos longer than 15 seconds within the app, so users in the test will have to create long-form videos with other apps

Google adds group video call support for Google Meet and Duo on Assistant-enabled smart displays; Duo works with a variety of devices and supports up to 32 participants; Meet works with Nest Hub Max at launch and can handle up to 100 users

Google redesigns Photos, adds a map view enabling users to browse images by capture location; the design emphasizes important photos from the past; a new Recent Highlights section under the Memories tab features the automatically generated collages and animations that used to be in the For You section (now eliminated); the update is rolling out on iOS and Android

Google is set to add a “sharesheet” feature to Chrome OS; will let users easily share content between apps; 9to5Google notes the feature is similar to Android’s Sharing Hub

Google showcases 3D video tech that lets users view a scene from a broader perspective; the system makes use of a 46-camera spherical array, which stitches multiple shots into a seamless image, creating so-called “light field videos”; Google notes the videos can be viewed via VR headsets and web browsers

Google says it will pay select media outlets to participate in an upcoming news service; Google will license content in three countries, with plans to expand to more markets; articles will be available via Google News and Discover; the company has not disclosed financial details or a launch date

Google announces a plan to offer loans to SMEs in India via its Google Pay for Business app; full details unclear, but Google says it will work with financial institutions to provide the loans

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi emails staff saying the company will deprioritize some of its finance-centric projects; comes as Peter Hazlehurst, head of Uber Money, steps down; Hazlehurst has led the unit since 2018; Khosrowshahi says Uber Money’s team will now report to VP of tech Peeyush Nahar

Amazon plans to add 24/7 live TV programming to its Prime Video service; the company is actively seeking licensing deals from a number of third-parties; Amazon already carries some live sports including select NFL and English Premier League games, as well as news from Cheddar and ABC

Amazon Web Services announces Honeycode, a service enabling code-free app development; free for up to 20 users and 2.5k database rows; AWS GM Meera Vaidyanathan has used Honeycode to manage her organization’s headcount; AWS customers Slack and SmugMug plan to use the service

Amazon launches a digital inventory system for independent brick-and-mortar stores in India; known as Smart Stores, the scheme lets merchants maintain a log of all their products; using their smartphones, shoppers can scan a QR code when they visit the store to see what’s available and read reviews from other customers; buyers can also complete purchases using Amazon Pay; Smart Stores is available in 10k locations at launch

Amazon has established a Counterfeit Crimes Unit to tackle the sale of imitation goods via its marketplace; the division comprises data analysts, former federal prosecutors, and investigators

Virgin Galactic successfully completes a second gliding test; the firm’s SpaceShipTwo Unity detached from a carrier aircraft at 51k feet, reaching a speed of Mach 0.85; Virgin Galactic plans to transition to powered test flights at some point. Virgin Galactic has recently signed a partnership with NASA to carry private astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS)

Waymo signs a partnership with Volvo to add its driverless tech to an EV that is purpose-built for ride-hailing; terms undisclosed, but the arrangement will also cover Volvo brands Polestar and Lynk & Co; the vehicle will be Level 4, meaning it’ll be capable of handling most road conditions in a predetermined geographical area

Trump to sign an executive order temporarily blocking H-1B visas for skilled workers from overseas; set to last through the end of the year; those who already have the visas or have applied are exempt from the order; the Trump administration claims the move is to protect US workers, but some in the tech industry say it will make it difficult to attract key talent. Google criticizes Trump’s order, saying immigrants have created businesses, jobs, and tech breakthroughs; the company filed more than 6.5k H-1B visas in 2019

 Apple WWDC updates

macOS Big Sur: likely the most significant redesign of the operating system since OS X; adds multiple iOS features and design choices, including a customizable Control Center, a new Notification Center with redesigned widgets, more; the menu bar and dock are taller and more translucent; the company redesigned a number of apps

iOS 14: includes home screen widgets; the user can select widgets for display in the Today view or placement on the home screen alongside app icons; can also sort apps automatically according to usage, or via Smart Stack; the update also includes a Widget Gallery and picture-in-picture support

iPadOS 14: with home screen widgets, updated stock apps with sidebars, Scribble support for system-wide handwriting recognition, more; also improves the Pencil and Magic Keyboard experiences; Spotlight Search more closely resembles the Mac experience

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will let users change their default email and browser; users currently have to use Safari or Mail as defaults; it’s unclear whether other apps such as music or digital assistants can also be changed

iOS 14 adds the ability to perform quick actions by tapping the rear of an iPhone; known as Back Tap, the feature will let users lock their device, take a screenshot, launch specific apps, and more

iOS 14 includes a new Sound Recognition feature for the hearing impaired; found within the Accessibility settings; the user can enable notifications for specific sounds, selected from a list; options include smoke alarms, doorbells, running water, a baby crying, shouting, more

iOS 14 will include substantial updates to the Messages app, with enhanced support for group chats including inline replies and expanded notification options; the app will also see new Memoji; the features will come to the Mac version of Messages with the Big Sur update

tvOS 14: includes the Home app and native HomeKit integration, enabling security camera views with picture-in-picture alerts; Apple Arcade titles now support multiple users with resume functionality; the update also brings improved Xbox controller support

CarKey for iPhone, shipping with iOS 14 and coming to iOS 13 via update; enables the user to lock, unlock, and start an NFC-equipped vehicle via iPhone and Watch; can also share access via Messages; the owner pairs a device to a vehicle’s app in the Wallet app; Apple is currently working with BMW to support the feature

New Translate app for iOS 14; will support 11 languages at launch and feature an offline mode; a side-by-side view simplifies live translation of a multilingual conversation

App Clips for iOS 14, small parts of an app that can be launched via NFC or a visual tag; App Clips are designed to be quickly downloadable and run on an ad hoc basis

Apple is set to launch two 4G versions of the iPhone 12, according to Omega Leaks; the smaller model will start at at $550, while the larger one will begin at $650; Apple is also rumored to be launching at least four 5G variants of the iPhone 12; all are expected this fall

Apple drops Force Touch support for Apple Watch in watchOS 7; the feature previously provided access to hidden menus within apps; Apple is encouraging developers to relocate such menus to other parts of their apps

Apple confirms it will not support Windows 10 via Boot Camp on ARM-based Macs; Apple SVP Craig Federighi says the Macs will only support other operating systems through virtualization

Safari 14 will allow users to log into websites using Face ID and Touch ID on Mac and mobile; will require websites to integrate FIDO Alliance’s WebAuthn API; the browser update will ship with iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur

Apple’s Safari Web Extensions will enable browser extension developers to port their existing extensions for use in Safari; Safari for iOS and macOS is currently limited in the types of extensions it supports; Apple’s new converter tool enables extensions built on web tech like HTML and JavaScript, whereas Safari’s existing extensions are built with Swift or Objective-C

Apple announces a Developer Transition Kit that includes an A12Z-powered Mac Mini with beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode; intended to prepare developers for future versions of Mac and macOS; developers can join the Universal App Quick Start Program for $500; the company expects to begin shipping kits as soon as this week; developers must return the kits when the program concludes

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

ByteDance case study, by CB Insights. How TikTok’s owner became the world’s most valuable unicorn

Why Figma wins. A case study looking at how Figma creates tools for Design, not just Designers. The core insight of Figma is that design is larger than just designers. Design is all of the conversations between designers and PMs about what to build. It is the mocks and prototypes and the feedback on them. It is the handoff of specs and assets to engineers and how easy it is for them to implement them. Building for this entire process doesn’t take away the importance of designers — it gives them a seat at the table for the core decisions a company makes

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020, by Startup Genome. It ranks the top ecosystems by a number of metrics including performance, funding, connectedness, talent and knowledge. The top five are the same with some movement between them. Silicon Valley is at the top position. New York remains 2nd, now newly tied with London. Beijing is 4th, and Boston is 5th. Tel Aviv and LA tied at 6th

[Podcast] and summary: The Product frameworks behind Superhuman, by NfX, with Superhuman founder Rahul Vohra.

Product vision: speak language people will understand, by Cleyton Messias. shares how important it is to get people from different areas and backgrounds on board, and what format can be appropriated for each one

💻 Upcoming online events

PMF Connect: SaaS Monetization Lessons, with former position as VP Product at Codecademy, Tuesday, June 30, 15:00 CET, Free

ProductTank June — Building Product Strategy, Tuesday, June 30, 18:30 CET, Free

Tech Circus Meets: Jeff Gothelf — Author of Lean UX, by The UX Crunch — Amsterdam, Wednesday, July 8, 19:00 CET, Free

#ProductCon, by Product School, Thursday, July 9, Free

Additionally, check out this Best Product Conferences in 2020 list put together by Product School

🙂 #alwaysbekind

During the upcoming weeks (for as long as the Covid-19 crisis goes on) I will keep dedicating my evenings to offer free consultation / advice / coaching / casual chats to any impacted professionals that would like to reach out. Don’t be a stranger, reach out by DM if you are interested, and let’s help each other. We are all humans after all, and we are all on the same boat

Written by

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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