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Apple subscription bundles, Product templates, WhatsApp multi-device, Facebook Financial, China digital collaboration, Twitter API v2, Xbox series X, more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$11.8B: SoftBank ($128.7B market cap) reports Q1 profit of $11.8B, up 12% YoY; follows record losses for the previous fiscal year; SoftBank has been repurchasing shares and sold off assets including some of its stake in T-Mobile

$4B: Impossible Foods is raising $200M Series G at a $4B valuation; investors last valued the meat alternatives company at $3.61B for a $500M Series F in March

$1.1B: SoftBank invests an additional $1.1B in WeWork in the form of senior secured notes; SoftBank has invested more than $10B to date; the latest backing adds to the company’s available cash, bringing it to $4.1B; WeWork’s membership numbers fell to 612k in Q2, down 12% from the previous quarter

$850M: American Express is in talks to acquire fintech firm Kabbage for as much as $850M; the SoftBank-backed company offers online loans to SMEs; an agreement is expected as soon as this month

$450M: Google has renewed its contract with Mozilla to serve as the de facto search engine in Firefox; the agreement is reportedly worth as much as $450M a year over 3 years; follows Mozilla’s announcement that its cutting 250 jobs and closing an office in Taipei

$75M: Fintech firm Blend raises $75M Series F led by Canapi Ventures; the company has a post-money valuation of ~$1.7B; provides tools to financial institutions offering mortgages, auto loans, and more; raised $365M to date

£35M: UK-based fintech firm Habito raises £35M Series C; offers a range of online mortgage products; has raised ~$82M to date

4.31M: Robinhood reports 4.31M daily average revenue trades for June, ~4x E*Trade’s fee-generating trades for that month and more than all Robinhood’s publicly-traded rivals generated; Robinhood generated $180M via order routing in Q2, and raised $320M in July for an $8.6B post-valuation

95%: A poll posted on China-based social platform Weibo asking users to choose between WeChat or their iPhone draws more than 1.2M responses, with ~95% opting for WeChat; follows an executive order from Trump that targets WeChat owner Tencent; according to estimations, iPhone sales in China could fall as much as 30% if WeChat is blocked by the App Store

29%: China’s Ministry of Commerce is expanding testing of its state-backed cryptocurrency; the digital yuan is being piloted in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, and Chengdu; it will be rolled out to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong; the digital token will be accessible by ~400M people, equal to 29% of China’s population

-67%: Airbnb’s revenue fell ~67% YoY to $335M in Q2; the firm reportedly lost $400M EBITDA; May bookings reportedly were down 70% YoY and June bookings were down 30%; Airbnb reportedly plans to file IPO this month

📰 What’s going on

Apple plans to launch subscription bundles for its premium services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+; referred to internally as Apple One, the grouped offerings will be cheaper than paying for multiple individual services; set to roll out in October alongside this year’s iPhone lineup

Apple launches its first public beta for watchOS with v7; adds a new Sleep app for sleep tracking, new fitness metrics, cycling directions in Maps, and an automatic handwashing timer; the software also adds new watch faces and methods for sharing them

Twitter launches v2 of its API, the first rebuild since 2012; the update restores developer access to features Twitter previously blocked to push users to its official apps; the company released the free Basic version of the API this week, and plans to launch Elevated and Custom plans at a later date

Twitter rolls out its reply-limiting feature to all users; when composing a tweet, the author has the option to set which groups can reply: everyone (default if no option selected), only people the author follows, and only people mentioned in the tweet; users excluded from replies can still retweet, comment, share, and like

Lyft ($9.1B market cap) Q2 beats: $339M revenue, down 61% YoY ($336.8M expected); -$0.86 EPS (adjusted, -$0.99 expected); 8.7M active riders; $39.06 revenue per active rider; $437.1M net loss, down from $644.2M for the year-earlier period; the company saw monthly rides jump 78% between April-July

Lyft says it may stop operating in CA if it’s forced to reclassify drivers as employees; follows a similar statement from Uber; Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are funding a ballot measure to try and overturn a law that views certain contractors as company staff

Coinbase announces bitcoin-backed fiat loans program for US customers; will cap loans at $20k, against up to 30% of a borrower’s bitcoin holdings; Coinbase will charge 8% for terms under one year; customers must fill out an application, but Coinbase will not run credit checks; initially limited to 17 states, launching this fall

WhatsApp plans to add multi-device support; the app will allow users to access an account across four devices at once; WhatsApp currently supports web-based desktop access but it requires a user’s smartphone to be connected to an active network at the same time

Facebook announces it will stop collecting the fees it usually charges for online events to help SMBs impacted by COVID-19, but notes Apple will take 30% regardless; businesses charging attendees through the web or Facebook’s Android app will keep 100% of events payments; Facebook asked Apple to waive its 30% cut on such events, but Apple declined

Facebook establishes new business group Facebook Financial, led by Libra co-creator David Marcus; the group, known internally as F2, will manage all payments and commerce projects, including universal payments product Facebook Pay; David Marcus will continue to lead Novi, the unit developing a digital wallet, as well as WhatsApp payments initiatives in certain countries; former Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel will serve as VP of payments

TikTok acquisition talks are unlikely to result in a deal; current owner ByteDance is in discussions with Microsoft, and has had preliminary conversations with Twitter; Microsoft has reportedly offered a low figure, while Twitter does not have enough cash to make a serious bid

Microsoft opens preorders for its Surface Duo, which starts at $1.4k; the Android-powered device will be available from Sept 10; features dual 5.6-inch OLED screens either side of a foldable hinge; also has an 11MP camera with 4K recording; supports Surface Pens; includes Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB RAM

Microsoft says it will officially launch its next-gen Xbox Series X console in November; “Halo Infinite” has been delayed until 2021

Google updates Maps with support for Apple’s CarPlay Dashboard and announces new Maps app for Apple Watch; the Dashboard feature, available now, enables users to control media playback, check Calendar events, and more without leaving Maps’ navigation screen; the Watch app, launching in coming weeks, provides step-by-step directions with ETAs, more

Google is adding a tool to Lens to help solve math problems; users will be able to capture an image of a math challenge and then use Lens to bring up explainers and step-by-step guide to help solve the equation; the system uses Socratic, which Google acquired last year

Google is testing domain-only URLs in Chrome v86; notes simplifying the domain field could make it easier to spot spoofed websites used in phishing attacks and other such scams; Safari already shows domain-only URLs

Google adds coronavirus related info to some travel Search results; searches for flights will show the percentage operating to and from a destination, while hotel results will also include details for the number of rooms available; users can filter searches by cancellation policy; Google will show the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region via Trips

Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store after developer Epic introduced its own in-app payments system; Apple has also pulled the game from the App Store for the same reason; Fortnite can still be sideloaded on Android via Epic’s website. Epic filed lawsuits against both companies

Amazon launches a pharmacy service in Bangalore, India; Amazon Pharmacy is fulfilling prescriptions and over-the-counter medications; also offers herbal medicines and health and wellness devices

Amazon rebrands Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming with expanded benefits that no longer require a Twitch account; membership includes one free Twitch channel subscription as well as free and discounted games; the company expanded its games catalog with the rebrand

Amazon Web Services makes Braket, a fully-managed quantum computing service, generally available; the service simulates quantum systems in the cloud, enabling clients to explore, design, and test algorithms; clients can then run those algorithms in quantum systems from D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti

Big data firm Palantir plans to go public via a direct listing in September; Palantir is currently raising $961M, of which it has already secured $550M

Baidu ($40B market cap) Q2 results mixed: $3.69B revenue, down ~1% YoY($3.7B expected); $2.08 EPS ($1.38 expected)

Tencent ($626B market cap) Q2 beats: $16.53B revenue, up 29% YoY($16.24B expected); $5.5B online gaming revenue, up 40% YoY; $3.85B social network revenue, up 29% YoY; $2.67B online ads revenue, up 13% YoY

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

3 lessons from Chinese firms on effective digital collaboration, by HBR. How data-sharing (yes, in China), coalition building and a super-app approach are helping Chinese companies collaborate effectively

Would breaking up ‘big tech’ work? What would? By Ben Evans

PM templates, by Lenny Rachitsky. Extensive selection of useful templates on: 1-pagers, strategy, vision, GTM, and more

A user guide to working with you, by Julie Zhuo. “…it creates clarity on how you work — what you value, how you look at problems, what your blind spots or areas of growth are, and how to build trust with you. It’s something you can give to your manager, the folks you work the closest with, or — if you are a manager — every new report who joins your team”. I personally love this concept, and have developed my own guide after discovering the idea through First Round Review a couple of years back

🙂 #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. Former product @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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