Microsoft on Thursday said it will raise prices as much as 20 percent for a bundle of software called Microsoft 365 that includes popular apps like Teams and Outlook.
The Microsoft 365 suite is the cornerstone of the company’s productivity and business process segment, which had sales of $53.9 billion (roughly Rs. 4,01,128 crores) in its most recent fiscal year, about a third of Microsoft’s overall $168 billion (roughly Rs. 12,50,268 crores) in sales.
The increases will affect commercial customers and are the first since Microsoft rolled out the service a decade ago. Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said the company has added two dozen apps to the suite since it launched.
“This updated pricing reflects the increased value we have delivered to our customers over the past 10 years,” Spataro said in the post.
At the low end, Microsoft 365 Business Basic plans will rise 20 percent from $5 per (roughly Rs. 372) user to $6 (roughly Rs. 446), while the highest-end versions of the suite — Microsoft 365 E3 — will have a smaller rise of 12.5 percent from $32 (roughly Rs. 2,381) to $36 (roughly Rs. 2,680) per user.
Microsoft said it is not changing prices for the consumer or education versions of the software.
Shares of Microsoft hit a record high on Thursday and were last up 1.8 percent at $295.96 (roughly Rs. 22,026).
© Thomson Reuters 2021
WhatsApp to drop support for several iPhone models: what does it mean for you?
WhatsApp is inarguably the most used instant messaging app right now. The company has been working on the app continuously throughout the years, making it simple to use, easy to set up, and accessible. However, if you use WhatsApp on an older iPhone, you should be aware that the Meta-owned instant messaging app will soon be dropping support for some older iPhone models.
Reliable WhatsApp-related website WABetaInfo reports that the company is planning to end support for some iOS versions. The publication spotted a prompt on the app saying that it will drop support for iOS 10 and iOS 11 in the fall. The 2013-launched iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c were not updated to iOS 12. This means that the last iOS update they received was iOS 11, and as a result of this, WhatsApp will stop working on iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c. The change will come into effect from 24 Oct 2022, so users have plenty of time to act.
WhatsApp has also updated its FAQ page, saying that the app works best on iOS 12 and later. This means that you can continue to use the app on iPhone 5s and later, given you update iOS to the latest version available. On the handset it will stop supporting from October 2022, the company will start sending a pop up saying: “WhatsApp will stop supporting this version of iOS after 24 Oct 2022. Please go to Settings > General, then tap Software Update to get the latest iOS version.”
While the company has not provided an official explanation for why it’s dropping support for iOS 10 and iOS 11, it should be noted that it is not unusual for app developers to drop support for older models. As the hardware becomes older (and slower), it becomes hard for app developers to optimize their apps (and develop new features) for them. The Meta-owned company took a similar step when it dropped support for iPhone 4S last year. If you own an iPhone 5 or 5c and use WhatsApp on a regular basis, there are a few ways by which you can tackle this situation.
What can you do?
Update your iPhone
As noted above, WhatsApp is not particularly dropping support for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c, but instead, the company is ending support for older iOS versions, iOS 10 and iOS 11. This affects only iPhone 5 and 5c because those iPhone models don’t support iOS 12. If your iPhone supports iOS 12 (or above), you can update your device to continue using WhatsApp post-October. iPhone 5s and all the models released after it support iOS 12, so if you haven’t updated your iPhone, you should go to Settings → General → Software Update and do it right away.
Upgrade to a new smartphone
WhatsApp is ending support for iOS 10 and iOS 11 for now, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will continue to support iOS 12 for long. If you have an older iPhone, it might be the time to upgrade. If you want to continue using WhatsApp on an affordable Apple device, check out the latest iPhone SE (2022). Or, if you want to make a switch to the other side, check out the best budget smartphones available right now.
Use other instant messaging apps
Last but not least, you may want to switch to a new instant messaging app if you plan to continue to use your iPhone 5/5c for some more period of time. Apps such as Telegram, Messenger, and Signal are some of the best alternatives you can use. Some offer a lot of features (and sometimes even more) than WhatsApp, while some are considered to be more private. While WhatsApp is ending the support for older iPhones, Apple isn’t, thankfully, dropping the support for iMessage on these iPhones, so you can continue sending blue bubbles to your contacts if you don’t use WhatsApp very often.
WhatsApp is one of the leading instant messaging apps on Earth. Millions of users rely on the service to communicate on a day-to-day basis. Some even use WhatsApp to run their business, but the company has decided to pull the plug for some iPhone models. What are your thoughts on WhatsApp ending support for older iPhone models? Let us know in the comments section below!
Uber Starts Showing Upfront Destination Info to Drivers to Reduce Cancellations, But There's a Catch
Uber in India has started showing trip destinations to drivers to let them decide whether they want to accept the ride. The new move is aimed to address rider concerns over cancellation by drivers after knowing their trip destination. The cab aggregator has also introduced earnings for long-distance pick-ups to allow drivers to accept ride requests even when the rider is not at a nearby location. Additionally, Uber has promised to start paying drivers on a daily basis — between Monday to Thursday. Driver associations are, however, not yet pleased by the new announcements.
To address concerns over cancellations by drivers after knowing the trip destination, Uber has announced that it has started showing trip destinations to drivers to let them make an informed choice. The feature is already live across 20 cities and is set to be expanded to all the remaining ones in the future. However, there is a catch. It is not live for all drivers.
Uber said that the upfront destination feature is available for drivers who “meet a predefined trip acceptance threshold.”
Shaik Salauddin, Founder State President (Telangana) of Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU) and National General Secretary of Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT), said that the feature kicks in only when a driver completes five trips.
“The stipulation for completion of rides for accessing information on the upcoming ride should be removed,” he said while responding to Uber’s updates in a press statement.
The union leader also mentioned that if drivers did not accept the incoming ride, their ratings would be affected negatively.
“With back-to-back rides being pushed on the drivers to accept even before the current ride ends has been creating a nightmare situation for the drivers,” Salauddin said.
Uber, in its announcement, did mention that it would continue to monitor feedback from drivers and riders and iterate on the threshold over the coming weeks.
In addition to the upfront destination information, Uber said that it introduced additional earnings for drivers in case they have to travel a long distance to pick up riders.
“Drivers will be able to see the earnings for long pick-ups, separately displayed on the fare receipt,” the company said.
The feature is essentially aimed to help riders get cabs even when the demand is high and the availability of cabs is low in a particular area.
Salauddin said that despite making a public announcement, drivers are not yet being paid for their “dry runs” — either to pick up the rider or if they are stuck outside the city after completing their rider. He added by saying that the payments for the long distances travelled had not yet been compensated by the company.
In addition to long-distance payments claim, Uber said that it has started showing drivers the mode of payment — whether it is cash or online — before the beginning of their trip. This would, again, help riders to receive a reduced number of cancellations as drivers sometimes cancel rides if it’s not a cash trip.
Cash-only trips are favourable to most drivers as aggregators including Uber and Ola take time to credit their payments. Uber is claiming to address this issue — in addition to showing the mode of payment — by bringing a daily pay process for drivers.
“This will ensure that trip earnings from Monday to Thursday, are credited to drivers the next day, while earnings from Friday to Sunday, are credited on Monday,” the company said.
Uber also noted that it repeated complaints from riders on service quality essentials including cancellations and ensuring AC rides could lead to penalties and even restricted app access for drivers. The company, however, also said that it would remain committed to listening to riders and drivers and delivering the “Uber magical experience again.”
Countering Uber’s announcement, Salauddin said that as the company claimed to bring a magical experience back to its rides, it should have at least made it so for its drivers also.
“The drivers’ demands are for fare rates in proportion to the fuel rates in their city, access to information on the trip sans the mandatory regulations, compensation for dry runs and roll back on back-to-back trips being dumped on them continuously,” he said.
Uber recently hiked trip fares in certain cities by 12 percent including Delhi-NCR, claiming to help reduce the impact of fuel price hikes on drivers. However, drivers are not yet convinced by the move.
Salauddin said the increase should not be in percentage but equal to the hike in fuel prices in the rupee value.
In March, Uber introduced a Driver Advisory Council (DAC) to start getting feedback from drivers on its platform. That council is, however, called a “well-practised ploy” by existing driver associations including TGPWU and IFAT.
Salauddin alleged that the decisions taken in consultation with the DAC “are a sham.”
“When there is already a strong driver organisation with three years of public history doing immense work, why would a company set up an alternate institution unless they have malicious intent?” he questioned.
WhatsApp Users Can Now Access DigiLocker Using MyGov Helpdesk Chatbot
WhatsApp users in India can now access DigiLocker using the government’s MyGov Helpdesk chatbot. This will enable users to create and authenticate their DigiLocker account as well as download documents such as PAN card, driving licence, and insurance policy documents, among others, by directly using the instant messaging app. DigiLocker is claimed to have over 100 million registered users who have issued over five billion documents to date. The new development will allow users to get their official documents on their mobile devices, without requiring them to download the dedicated DigiLocker app or accessing its website.
Using the update, WhatsApp users in India will now be able to access DigiLocker by sending a message saying “DigiLocker” at +91-9013151515 on the messaging app. It will bring options to let users create and authenticate their DigiLocker account as well as download documents, namely PAN card, driving licence, CBSE Class 10 passing certificate, Class 10 marksheet, Class 12 marksheet, vehicle registration certificate (RC), two-wheeler insurance policy of two-wheeler, and life and non-life insurance policy.
Similar to the DigiLocker app and website, users accessing the service through WhatsApp will be required to provide their Aadhaar number for authentication. Once the Aadhaar number is given, the chatbot will validate it with a one-time password (OTP) to let you download documents from the messaging app.
“Offering DigiLocker services on the MyGov Helpdesk is a natural progression and a step towards providing citizens with simplified access to essential services via WhatsApp’s easy and accessible platform,” said Abhishek Singh, MyGov CEO, President and CEO NeGD, MD and CEO Digital India Corporation (DIC) of the government, in a prepared statement.
Launched in March 2020, MyGov Helpdesk, which is named MyGov Coronavirus Helpdesk, on WhatsApp, crossed 1.7 crore users in 10 days of its debut. It was initially introduced to create awareness and help people during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. However, the government gradually made it for providing e-governance services. The chatbot was developed by Jio Platforms subsidiary Haptik.
The MyGov Helpdesk is claimed to be accessed by over 80 million people. It has been used to download over 33 million vaccine certificates and for booking millions of vaccination appointments, the government platform said.
“Equipping the MyGov Helpdesk with DigiLocker services that can be accessed directly via WhatsApp, we want to unlock technology’s potential to extend the benefits of essential services to citizens at scale, and this is a significant step towards scaling up the Digital India vision and a digitally empowered country,” said Shivnath Thukral, Director – Public Policy, WhatsApp.
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