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Microsoft is not a competitive threat to us – Slack CEO

The founder of Slack, Stewart Butterfield, has taken a swipe at Microsoft after Slack gained 2 million users in about two weeks.

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Slack founder takes a swipe at Microsoft, says Teams is not a threat

The founder of Slack, Stewart Butterfield, has taken a swipe at a rival, Teams after the former gained 2 million users in about two weeks, increasing its connected users to 12.5 million in March 2020.

Butterfield said that the Microsoft owned Teams is no threat to Slack in the team-messaging app market, citing its performance and customer base.

Butterfield said Microsoft had been pushing its rival, Teams, with free service for three years, despite this, no Slack enterprise customer has switched to Teams. “Microsoft has made a huge push the past three years with a free service, but can you find a single Slack enterprise customer who has switched to Teams?

“If Microsoft is such a competitive threat to Slack as it says, we would not have grown in sales and $1 million customers,” Butterfield told MarketWatch. He asserted that Slack’s wide breadth, with up to 25,000 channels and security features give it a competitive advantage in the market.

READ MORE: 54gene raises $15 million to boost African genetic code, as venture capital hits $19.5 million

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It took Slack about four years to move from 1 million users base to 10 million on March 10. The team-messaging app later hit 12.5 million on March 25. “The week of March 9 was the most productive in our company’s history,” he said.

How both firms performed in March: Both Teams and Slack had an impressive performance in March following the lockdown. The work-from-home caused by the Coronavirus outbreak fueled the rise in Teams and Slack patronage.

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Microsoft announced that Teams recorded 2.7 billion meeting minutes on March 31, a 200% increase from the 900 million recorded mid-March. Meanwhile, its total video calls saw a 1000% rise in same March.

Before March ending, Teams accounted for 32 million on March 11 2020, but now has 44 million people on a daily basis; a significant growth from the 20 million in November 2019. One of the biggest feats for Teams is Pentagon, which launched a Microsoft-based teleworking service for 4 million employees.

READ MORE: Smartphones that track virus spread: This could really make a difference

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of minutes of active users of Slack during weekdays by all users globally now exceeds 1 billion. It was disclosed that the company added 9,000 new paid customers from February 1 to March 25, an 80% increase over the full quarterly total the preceding two quarters.

Slack also saw paid subscribers, which include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, KPMG and TD Ameritrade AMTD, -4.99%, rose to 110,000. Slack experienced a surge in customers that spent more than $1 million annually on its product.

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[READ ALSO: Dear Nigerians, the 5G Network is not a conspiracy theory)

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This reflected in Slack’s share, which gained 10% this year, as its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue hit $181.9 million from $122 million a year ago; this is a 49% surged.

“I mean, 44 million is an impressive number, but that is out of 200 million Office 365 customers. That’s about a 20% adoption rate.” He added that, “The smaller startup has an advantage against the large, established company because its focus is narrowed on doing one thing better.”

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Hospitality & Travel

US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others

The US has issued a visa rule requiring tourist and business travelers in some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees.

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Berger Paints' improved margins ride on the back of cost efficiency

The outgoing administration of US President, Donald Trump, on Monday, November 23, 2020, issued a new temporary visa rule that requires tourist and business travelers from 15 African countries and others to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees, which ranges from $16 to $300, in order to visit the United States.

According to TheCable, the US State Department said the visa bond pilot programme, expected to take effect from December 24 and end on June 24, 2021, is targeted at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.

The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. Hence, overstay places significant pressure on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

The visa bond rule will permit U.S. consular officers to request tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10% and above in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.

The countries whose tourist and business travelers fall into this category and subjected to the bond requirements are 24 countries, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively fewer travelers to the United States.

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The countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen,

Nigerian travelers escaped paying the temporary visa rule, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10% and above overstaying rate.

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Economy & Politics

Senate approves issuance of N148bn promissory notes to Bayelsa, 4 others

Promissory notes worth N148,141,969,161.24 has been approved by the Senate as refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States

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Senate approves issuance of promissory notes worth N148 billion as a refund to five states

Promissory notes worth N148.141billion have been approved by the Senate as a refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, and Rivers States for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

The approval which was given by the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday, 24th November 2020, came after the presentation of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, led by Senator Ordia Clifford (PDP-Edo).

According to a news report by NAN, this is a go-ahead to the Federal Government, who had sought the approval of the Senate for issuance of promissory notes for a refund on federal projects executed by State governments.

The request was contained in a letter addressed to President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan by President Muhammadu Buhari, and read at plenary. The Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative input.

(READ MORE: FG inaugurates steering committee on Covid-19 economic recovery)

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Senator Ordia Clifford, while presenting the report of the committee, said the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Commissioners of Finance and Works in the five states, had briefed the committee on details of the projects.

He said the Committee was presented with documents relating to the approvals of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the execution of the projects and certificates of completion, amongst other documents.

At the plenary today, Senator Ordia moved the motion that the Senate approves the Committee’s recommendations by approving the issuance of the promissory notes to the State governments.

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According to him, the amount due to the five states is N148.14billion.

  • Bayelsa was allotted N38.40billion
  • Cross River was allotted N18.39billion
  • Ondo was allotted N7.82billion
  • Osun was allotted N4.57billion
  • Rivers was allotted N78.95billion

What they are saying

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that records showed PDP states had the highest refund, he said: “If you look at the list of states, only two are APC states and they have the least in terms of refund, this is fantastic and a mark of leadership by the Federal Government. This shows tolerance and leadership by this administration.”

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Business News

Interswitch Group becomes Finastra’s lead technology partner in Nigeria

nterswitch Group has unveiled a consolidated partnership with Finastra, one of the world’s most influential Fintechs.

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Interswitch Group becomes Finastra’s Lead technology partner in Nigeria

In a bid to further develop its market and expand, Interswitch Group has unveiled a consolidated partnership with Finastra, one of the world’s most influential Fintechs.

This is according to a verified post by Interswitch Group on Linkedin, as seen by Nairametrics.

What this means

The strategic partnership enables Interswitch to become Finastra’s lead technology partner and will avail the latter the opportunity to bring the broadest set of financial software solutions to financial institutions in Nigeria and across Africa, in conjunction with Interswitch’s strong understanding of the local banking and payments landscape, as well as the ability to deploy solutions across these markets.

Some of Finastra’s financial software solutions that will be incorporated into Interswitch’s digital solution include: Fusion Kondor and Fusion Trade Innovation, which will consolidate Interswitch’s position as a hub for financial solutions, including treasury and trade solutions.

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(READ MORE: 5 Nigerian startups selected to join 7 others at the Africa Tech Summit Connects (ATS))

What they are saying

Commenting on the partnership, the Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, was quoted by Tech economy saying:Our partnership with Finastra is consistent with our strategic growth plan and we both share the vision of deepening access to financial services by providing world-class technology and innovative solutions.

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“The partnership enables Finastra to seamlessly deploy its technology in this market. For Interswitch, we will be leveraging our proven success and expertise in delivering transaction banking solutions to support Finastra in localizing and implementing their technology in this region.’’

On the other hand, the Head of Partner Ecosystem MEA & CIS at Finastra, Hamid Nirouzad, said: “Interswitch has a proven track record of delivering solutions to commercial banks, as well as, a strong understanding of the local banking landscape across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Finastra is committed to providing its solutions to financial institutions across the world, and partnerships such as this will result in successful projects, with rapid delivery at a reasonable cost.”

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