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Infosys acquires US software provider in digital business push

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MUMBAI (NewsRise) — Infosys‘s acquisition of U.S. cloud consulting software provider Simplus underscores the Indian software exporter’s push to expand digital business as clients curtail spending on traditional technology outsourcing.

The Bengaluru-based company agreed to buy Simplus for $250 million, including $50 million in earn out payments, it said in a statement last evening. Simplus specializes in the so-called Salesforce business software implementation on the cloud.

In 2018, Infosys had acquired a Finnish company called Fluido in a 64 million-euro ($70 million) deal for Salesforce implementation on the cloud. Indian software exporters are fast shifting to new internet-based technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence from low-margin, rudimentary services such as managing the IT infrastructure and back offices of western clients.

“Service providers globally have been active in Salesforce competency acquisitions,” Kotak Institutional Equities in a note. Infosys’ move is consistent with its focus on accelerating digital shift, the brokerage said.

Global consulting major Accenture draws nearly two-thirds of its revenue from new digital technologies, a feat it achieved by spending billions of dollars on acquisition of niche technology companies.

Indian software companies continue to earn a disproportionately large amount of revenue from stock IT services such as application development and business process outsourcing to drive growth. Digital technologies barely accounted for a third of the industry’s revenue.

“The acquisition reaffirms our continuous endeavor to strengthen our strategy of scaling our cloud-first digital transformation capabilities,” said Infosys Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao. “This acquisition is key to staying relevant to the digital priorities of our clients.”

Such acquisitions are earnings dilutive initially, but make up later through participation in high growth opportunities, Kotak said.

Last week, Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions, which has about three-fourths of its employees based in India, said it is in negotiations to buy the French operations of El Technologies, a Paris-based digital firm that specializes in Salesforce implementation in France.

According to brokerage Nirmal Bang, India’s IT companies have been unable to tap into the marketing budgets of customers in a material way, as they continued to focus on technology-intensive back-end of digital, “where we believe the field is relatively more crowded.”

The front-office capabilities in digital still largely elude Indian IT services players, it said in a report published in December.

Infosys’s acquisition comes at a time when the Indian company is barely recovering from a management turmoil triggered by whistleblower allegations of financial irregularities. Last month, Infosys said its audit panel, along with external investigation agencies, found no evidence of “financial impropriety.” The company continues to face probe from the capital markets regulator and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares of Infosys gained 0.3% in Mumbai trading on Tuesday, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex added 0.6%.

–Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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Winners and losers of the Nevada Democratic presidential debate

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  • Six Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday night for the ninth debate of the 2020 Democratic primary.
  • The debate was combative and punctuated by withering attacks from all sides on the newcomer on stage: billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the first, and most devastating swings, at Bloomberg and generally dominated throughout the night, including with positive pitches for her policies. 
  • While Bloomberg was inundated with attacks and struggled to deliver a coherent defense of his record, Sen. Amy Klobuchar was forced to defend her prosecutorial record in Minnesota and her apparent ignorance about Mexican politics.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Six Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday night for the ninth — and most combative — debate of the 2020 Democratic primary.

The winners: Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts progressive, came out swinging in the first minutes of the debate, targeting her fire at the newcomer in the race: billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren said, drawing audible gasps from the audience. “And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.”

Warren continued to pummel Bloomberg throughout the two-hour debate on everything from his history of misogynistic comments to the discriminatory “stop and frisk” policy he implemented in New York City.

But Warren wasn’t just on the attack. She also delivered substantive pitches for her own policies, including her wealth tax, her investment plan for minority-owned businesses, and her climate plan. And she came to the defense of Sen. Amy Klobuchar after former Mayor Pete Buttigieg attacked her for forgetting the name of the Mexican president in a recent interview. 

Warren’s performance drew extensive praise from commentators online and her campaign announced it had its best hour of fundraising to date in the middle of the debate. 

 

But Warren didn’t spend much time attacking the frontrunner in the race: Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In fact, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the only candidate who took multiple, aggressive swings at Sanders. 

Overall, Sanders made it out of Wednesday night relatively unscathed — a win for him given his top showings in Iowa and New Hampshire and his surge in recent national polling. 

Elizabeth Warren Michael Bloomberg

Elizabeth Warren pressed Michael Bloomberg on his company’s treatment of women

Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images


The losers: Michael Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar

Bloomberg struggled throughout the debate to make a positive case for his candidacy, instead spending most of his time defending his comments about women, apologizing for stop and frisk, and disputing various claims made about his record.

Every candidate on stage took multiple opportunities to attack Bloomberg. Former Vice President Joe Biden noted that Bloomberg at one point called the Affordable Care Act “a disgrace,” rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to reign in his policing tactics in New York, and was elected mayor as a Republican. 

Sanders tore into Bloomberg for donating to the campaigns of Republican members of Congress, Buttigieg called Bloomberg and Sanders the two “most polarizing figures on this stage,” and Klobuchar accused Bloomberg of “hiding behind his campaign ads.” 

Klobuchar also spent a large chunk of the debate on defense. At one point, she was asked to explain why she wasn’t able to name the president of Mexico in a recent interview on Telemundo. The senator described the lapse as a mistake, and Buttigieg jumped in to call it an example of inexcusable ignorance. 

The Senator from Minnesota retorted at one point, “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.”

Klobuchar was also forced to defend her record as the top prosecutor in Hennepin County, Minnesota, during which time she oversaw the prosecution of a 16-year-old black boy, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But new evidence and clear inconsistencies in the case indicate Myon Burrell, now 33, may be innocent.

 



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Nissan launching subscription service that lets you switch cars daily

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  • Nissan is launching a subscription service, allowing drivers to switch to a different car every day. 
  • The program, called “Nissan Switch,” will cost $699 or $899 a month depending on which tier you choose, and will be launching in Houston as a test-run.
  • The “Select” tier will offer access to models like the Altima, Rogue, and Pathfinder, while the “Premium” tier offers access to the Maxima, Murano, and Armada models, among others.
  • Nissan joins other automakers like Lexus, Audi, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz in offering a subscription service for cars.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nissan said on Wednesday that it will launch a subscription service that allows drivers to switch to a different car as often as every day. 

The program, called “Nissan Switch,” is scheduled to launch in the Houston area as a test-run, Nissan said in a release. Drivers can choose from two tiers, “Select” and “Premium,” at $699 and $899 a month, respectively. 

The Select tier will offer models like the Altima sedan and Rogue crossover, while the Premium includes models like the Maxima sedan and the Armada SUV. 

Subscribers will have to pay a $495 fee to join the program, but the subscription includes “unlimited switches, as often as a new vehicle each day,” delivery, cleaning, insurance, roadside assistance, and regular maintenance. 

To switch to a different car, drivers can “use the Nissan Switch app or text your personal concierge to schedule your switch,” according to the program’s website. Nissan will then deliver the vehicle within a specified service area. 

“Nissan Switch is another way that Nissan is testing alternatives to the notion of traditional mobility, without long-term financial commitments for our customers,” said Andrew Tavi, Nissan’s vice president of external affairs. 

“For those who want a sedan during the week and an SUV or sports car, like the GTR, on the weekends, Nissan Switch provides the solution,” Tavi said. The GTR wil be available for an extra $100 per day for a maximum of seven days. 

The Netflix-like subscription — Nissan says “changing up your ride is as easy as binge-watching your favorite show” — joins subscription plans from other automakers like Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz

While car-subscription plans are a convenient way to drive a variety of cars, the fun comes at a cost. An analysis from car marketplace Edmunds.com found that subscriptions  — the highest analyzed was $97,739 over the course of three years — are much more expensive than a traditional lease. 

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Apple iPhone 9 release may be delayed because of coronavirus: report

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  • Apple’s rumored low-cost iPhone may be delayed because of supply constraints resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
  • The news comes just after Bloomberg reported that the phone was still on track to launch in March.
  • Apple also said on Monday that it does not expect to meet its revenue guidance for its fiscal second quarter because of the virus.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple may miss its target to release a low-cost iPhone in March, according to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review, which comes just a day after Bloomberg reported that the launch was still on track.

Mass production of this new iPhone was slated to begin in February in preparation for a March release, as a previous Bloomberg report had indicated. But according to the latest report from Nikkei Asian Review, broad scale production of the expected low-cost iPhone may shift to March due to setbacks related to the coronavirus.

Suppliers in Apple’s supply-chain network are currently working at between 30% and 50% capacity, a source told Nikkei Asian Review, as China-based plants grapple with shortages of labor and components. Apple could experience constraints until April, the report says. 

“I think you have to plan for some form of a delay at this point,” Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures, said to Business Insider when asked about the rumored low-cost iPhone. “They can launch a product, but it may be in short supply.” 

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

The report, although unconfirmed by Apple, is another sign of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on the tech giant’s business. Apple said on Monday that it does not expect to meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter because of supply constraints and slowing demand in China caused by the virus. Although its iPhone manufacturing sites have reopened, they are ramping up more slowly than expected, Apple said.

Apple’s rumored $400 iPhone is expected to feature a design that’s similar to the iPhone 8, but with internal components that are similar to 2019’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Many have speculated that it will be called the “iPhone SE 2,” suggesting that it may be a sequel to the company’s low-cost iPhone from 2016, or the “iPhone 9,” since it’s said to resemble the iPhone 8.

It’s one of several new gadgets Apple is expected to launch in the first half of this year, along with a new pair of high-end headphones, Tile-like tags to help users find lost items with their iPhone, and a refreshed iPad Pro, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. A Bloomberg report on Tuesday suggested that the new iPad Pro could be delayed because of the coronavirus.

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