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Elon Musk Countersues Twitter Under Seal in $44 Billion Acquisition Deal

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Elon Musk countersued Twitter on Friday, escalating his legal fight against the social media company over his bid to walk away from the $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore) purchase, although the lawsuit was filed confidentially.

While the 164-page document was not publicly available, under court rules a redacted version could soon be made public.

Musk’s lawsuit was filed hours after Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery ordered a five-day trial beginning Oct. 17 to determine if Musk can walk away from the deal.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also on Friday, Musk was sued by a Twitter shareholder who asked the court to order the billionaire to close the deal, find that he breached his fiduciary duty to Twitter shareholders and award damages for losses he caused.

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Musk owes a fiduciary duty to Twitter’s shareholders because of his 9.6 percent stake in the company and because the takeover agreement gives him a veto of many of the company’s decisions, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class status. The lawsuit was filed by Luigi Crispo, who owns 5,500 Twitter shares, in the Court of Chancery.

Musk, the world’s richest person and chief executive of Tesla, said on July 8 that he was abandoning the takeover and blamed Twitter for breaching the agreement by misrepresenting the number of fake accounts on its platform.

Twitter sued days later, calling the fake account claims a distraction and saying Musk was bound by the merger contract to close the deal at $54.20 (nearly Rs. 4,500) per share. The company’s shares ended on Friday at $41.61 (nearly Rs. 3,500), the highest close since Musk abandoned the deal.

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McCormick fast-tracked the case to trial last week, saying she wanted to limit the potential harm to Twitter caused by the uncertainty of the deal.

Twitter has blamed the court fight for slumping revenue and causing chaos within the company.

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The two sides had basically agreed to an Oct. 17 trial, but were at odds over the limits of discovery, or access to internal documents and other evidence.

Musk accused Twitter this week of dragging its feet in response to his discovery requests, and Twitter accused him of seeking huge amounts of data that are irrelevant to the main issue in the case: whether Musk had violated the deal contract.

The chief judge in her order on Friday appeared to anticipate discovery disputes to come.

“This order does not resolve any specific discovery disputes, including the propriety of any requests for large data sets,” said McCormick.

Musk also faces a week-long trial in Wilmington, Delaware, beginning Oct. 24. A Tesla shareholder is seeking to void as corporate waste and unjust enrichment the CEO’s record-breaking $56 billion (roughly Rs. 4.5 lakh crore) pay package from the electric vehicle maker.

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© Thomson Reuters 2022


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WhatsApp Beta Update Adds ‘Picture-in-Picture’ Support During Video Calls for iOS Testers: Report

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WhatsApp has reportedly begun testing the ability to use ‘picture-in-picture’ (PIP) mode during video calls on iOS. The Meta-owned messaging app continues to develop new features for the popular messaging app, and is rolling out a new update for its beta testers on iOS that will add the feature to use other apps and multitask while video calling via WhatsApp, according to a feature tracker. ‘Picture-in-picture’ mode isn’t new to WhatsApp for iOS — it already supports the feature when playing media shared from websites like YouTube and Facebook.

According to a report from WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, select users part of the TestFlight beta program will receive the feature as part of the update to version 22.24.0.79 on iOS. A screengrab on the website shows the ability to multitask with other apps during an ongoing video call on WhatsApp. The video call window can be temporarily hidden as well. Users who have received the update can check if they have received the feature by trying to use a different app while placing a video call.

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A screenshot of the picture-in-picture mode in action shared by the feature tracker

Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

The report states that the PIP feature is working on iOS 16.1 or above, with previous versions not yet supported despite being compatible with the update. “Note that, even if this feature is compatible with iOS 15 and newer versions of iOS, we have no evidence that it is also enabled for users on iOS 15 at the moment,” WABetaInfo said. The update should soon be available for the wider user base as well.

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The new update to beta version 22.24.0.79 follows a slew of WhatsApp updates on the iOS platform. Most recently, iOS beta testers received a ‘search by date’ feature that let users search specific messages by date within a chat, adding a calendar icon in the search option.

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WhatsApp users also received a ‘Message Yourself’ feature to send themselves reminders and take notes, the ability to include captions when forwarding media, and a voice note feature for status updates.

Probably the biggest feature added recently to the app on both iOS and Android was WhatsApp Polls, which let users create polls in both personal and group chats. The feature is also found on rival messaging services, like Telegram.


Apple launched the iPad Pro (2022) and the iPad (2022) alongside the new Apple TV this week. We discuss the company’s latest products, along with our review of the iPhone 14 Pro on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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New Zealand Plans to Introduce Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay Local Outlets for News

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The New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Alphabet’s Google and Meta to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds.

Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets.

“New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online,” Jackson said. “It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it.”

The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party’s majority is expected to pass it.

Australia introduced a law in 2021 that gave the government power to make internet companies negotiate content supply deals with media outlets. A review released by the Australian government last week found it largely worked.

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The law, which took effect in March 2021 after talks with the big tech firms led to a brief shutdown of Facebook news feeds in Australia, may need to be extended to other online platforms, the review said.

Since the News Media Bargaining Code took effect, the tech firms had inked more than 30 deals with media outlets compensating them for the content which generated clicks and advertising dollars, said the Treasury Department report, published last week.

The report mostly recommended that the government consider new methods of assessing the administration and effectiveness of the law, and did not suggest changing the law itself.

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“At least some of these agreements have enabled news businesses to, in particular, employ additional journalists and make other valuable investments to assist their operations,” said the report. “While views on the success or otherwise of the Code will invariably differ, we consider it is reasonable to conclude that the Code has been a success to date.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Apple, Amazon Resume Advertising on Twitter After Elon Musk Takeover: Reports

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Amazon and Apple are planning to resume advertising on Twitter, according to media reports on Saturday. The developments follow an email sent by Twitter on Thursday to advertising agencies offering advertisers incentives to increase their spending on the platform, an effort to jump-start its business after Elon Musk’s takeover prompted many companies to pull back.

Twitter billed the offer as the “biggest advertiser incentive ever on Twitter,” according to the email reviewed by Reuters. US advertisers who book $500,000 (roughly Rs. 4 crore) in incremental spending will qualify to have their spending matched with a “100 percent value add,” up to a $1 million (roughly Rs. 8 crore) cap, the email said.

On Saturday, a Platformer News reporter tweeted that Amazon is planning to resume advertising on Twitter at about $100 million (roughly Rs. 814 crore) a year, pending some security tweaks to the company’s ads platform.

However, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Amazon had never stopped advertising on Twitter.

Separately, during a Twitter Spaces conversation, Musk announced that Apple is the largest advertiser on Twitter and has “fully resumed” advertising on the platform, according to a Bloomberg report.

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Last week, Twitter’s new CEO accused Apple of threatening to block the microblogging service from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets that also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform. The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla said Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands.

Musk’s first month as Twitter’s owner has included a slashing of staff including employees who work on content moderation and incidents of spammers impersonating major public companies, which has spooked the advertising industry.

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Many companies from General Mills to luxury automaker Audi of America stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition, and Musk said in November that the company had seen a “massive” drop in revenue.

Apple and Twitter did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on the matter.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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