Power

Google is adding $4.5 billion to Jio Platforms’ war chest

Investors just can't stop pouring money into the wannabe WeChat of India.

Jio Platforms doesn't seem to be able to stop raising money.

The company confirmed Wednesday that Google bought a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms for around $4.5 billion. Google is Jio's 13th major investor since the company started raising in April — and the company has now raised $20 billion in under three months.

While investing in Jio increasingly just seems to be what tech companies and private equity shops do, a Google deal is slightly surprising. In May, The Financial Times reported that Google was considering a stake in Vodafone Idea, Jio's struggling competitor. That would have set it up for a battle with Facebook, Jio's largest external investor. By investing in Jio, Google might instead be deciding to team up with Facebook. And together they may end up fighting Amazon, which is rumored to be investing $2 billion in Jio's other rival, Bharti Airtel.The timing of the deal is interesting, too. On Monday, Google announced a $10 billion fund to invest in India, which Sundar Pichai said would be spread across companies and data centers. A $4.5 billion stake in Jio uses up a big chunk of that fund, and isn't exactly an innovative move at this point

.

Still, it confirms what we already knew: Almost everyone is betting on Jio to become the WeChat of India. The company plans to use its immensely popular cellular network to push users into a range of digital services, ranging from edtech to ecommerce. The potential profits on offer have attracted a range of both financial and strategic investors. Facebook, Google, Intel, and Qualcomm presumably want to play a role in building (and shaping) India's future; private equity and state investment funds more likely just want a slice of the cash.

The latter should count themselves lucky: Jio has said it's no longer looking for financial partners, but is instead searching for strategic investors. With Android powering 95% of Indian smartphones, Google certainly fits the bill.

This article was updated Wednesday after Jio confirmed Google's investment.

Enterprise

SEC cyber reporting regs may be stuck. CISA is poised to do better.

CISA’s initiative to regulate critical infrastructure on incident reporting is just beginning. The focus on industry engagement by CISA and its director, Jen Easterly, could be about to pay off.

CISA director Jen Easterly is focusing on cyber industry engagement.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

As the chief information security officer of a large, publicly traded tech company, Drew Simonis has been keeping a close eye on the SEC's proposed rules to require reporting of major cyberattacks.

Simonis, who works at Juniper Networks, has some serious concerns shared by many executives in U.S. private industry. Some of the proposed cyber incident reporting rules seem like they'd be counterproductive to the goal of creating transparency, and would likely just increase confusion for corporate shareholders, he said. Overall, by requiring public disclosure of major cyber incidents within four business days, the approach seems to lack a basic understanding of the "fluid nature of security events," Simonis said.

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Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Sponsored Content

How Global ecommerce benefits American workers and the U.S. economy

New research shows Alibaba’s ecommerce platforms positively impact U.S. employment.

The U.S. business community and Chinese consumers are a powerful combination when it comes to American job creation. In addition to more jobs, the economic connection also delivers enhanced wages and a growing GDP contribution on U.S. soil, according to a recent study produced by NDP Analytics.

Alibaba — a leading global ecommerce company — is a particularly powerful engine in helping American businesses of every size sell goods to more than 1 billion consumers on its digital marketplaces in China. In 2020, U.S. companies completed more than $54 billion of sales to consumers in China through Alibaba’s online platforms.

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James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Entertainment

EA’s mobile chief: ‘We believe we will thrive in this environment’

Electronic Arts is faring better than its rivals. The company’s mobile chief knows why.

FIFA Mobile, a new version of which launched in January, just had its best-ever quarter.

Photo: Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts, the sports game publisher that spent years neglecting the mobile gaming market, couldn’t have picked a better time to jump in the deep end.

Last year, EA spent close to $4 billion acquiring its way to a stronger position in mobile. This year, it launched a new iteration of its popular FIFA franchise for smartphones and released a mobile spinoff of its hugely successful Apex Legends battle royale. The company's competitors have also followed suit with even more eye-popping acquisitions, including Take-Two Interactive’s purchase of Zynga for nearly $13 billion back in January and Microsoft’s record $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which includes Candy Crush studio King, soon after.

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Nick Statt

Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Policy

NYC’s bungled monkeypox vaccine rollout has a familiar ring

The failures raise questions about the due diligence undertaken by officials in awarding contracts.

The tech failures are part of a broader mishandling of the monkeypox outbreak at all levels of government, which is causing public health experts to fear that the virus could already be out of hand.

Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In 2016, New York's state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with a company known as MedRite Urgent Care, after Yelp caught the company paying for fake positive reviews. At the time, the attorney general's office accused MedRite of "misrepresentation and deceptive acts," for which the urgent care provider agreed to pay a $100,000 fine.

And yet, just six years later, in the midst of its fast-growing monkeypox outbreak, New York City chose MedRite to operate its monkeypox vaccine scheduler. The first day of the rollout, MedRite's system crashed, leaving New Yorkers scrambling to get access to a vaccine that is already in limited supply.

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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu

Kwasi (kway-see) is a fellow at Protocol with an interest in tech policy and climate. Previously, he covered global religion news at the Associated Press in New York. Before that, he was a freelance journalist based out of Accra, Ghana, covering social justice, health, and environment stories. His reporting has been published in The New York Times, Quartz, CNN, The Guardian, and Public Radio International. He can be reached at kasiedu@protocol.com.

Fintech

Credit where it’s due: BNPL wants in on credit reports

The CFPB, “buy now, pay later” companies and credit bureaus all think BNPL data should be factored into credit scores. So what’s the hold up?

Currently, most “buy now, pay later” products can only hurt a user’s credit, but major BNPL companies, consumer advocates and credit bureaus all say they're trying to change that.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Currently, most “buy now, pay later” products can only hurt a user’s credit — if there’s even an impact on their credit score at all. But major BNPL companies, consumer advocates and credit bureaus all say they are trying to change that.

The effort began to gain steam in June, when the CFPB urged “pay-in-four” BNPL companies, credit bureaus and scoring companies to work together on incorporating BNPL data into users’ credit scores in a way that rewards responsible behavior. But BNPL companies say they are hesitant to trust credit bureaus with the data.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

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