TCS to pay full variable, Twitter misled regulators about bots, and Apple’s Make in India plan

India’s largest information technology (IT) firm TCS will dole out 100% variable pay to its 600,000 employees – just days after we reported that the company had delayed its June variable compensation by a month. We delve deep into this development and other important tech stories that made the headlines during the day.

Credit: Giphy

Also in this letter:

■ Apple plans to make iPhone 14 in India
■ Firm misled regulators about security, bots: ex-Twitter security head
■ Netflix ramps up hiring for cloud gaming

TCS to roll out 100% variable pay for employees


Just days after we reported that information technology (IT) firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has delayed the June variable compensation payout by a month for some employees, the country’s largest IT firm, said on Tuesday it will pay out 100% variable pay for its 600,000 plus employee base.

We reported on August 20 that the Tata Group company has delayed the variable payout for C3A, C3B, C4, and equivalent grades by a month. These are employees at the assistant consultant, associate consultant, and consultant levels. The money due to be paid in July will be paid by August-end, according to an internal email accessed by ET.

What are the details? “As much as 100% variable pay is being given out for Q1,” TCS said in a statement. Previously, the company had said its compensation and bonus cycles were running as planned.

Sources stated that over 90% of the employees have received their variable payout.

Dipping margins: During the June quarter results, all Indian IT majors had indicated a strong demand environment but reported severe margin contraction due to high employee costs. According to analysts, some companies are taking cautionary measures to curtail performance payout to conserve cash.

The decision comes at a time when its peers Infosys and Wipro have reduced or suspended variable payouts owing to margin pressure.

IT peers cut variable pay: We reported on Tuesday that Infosys has handed out 70% variable pay on average to employees for the June quarter.

Last week, Wipro, too, said in an email that employees belonging to C bands and above (managers to C-suite level) will not receive any variable payouts, while associates in A & B bands (freshers to team leader levels) will receive 70% of target variable pay.

Firm misled regulators about security, bots: ex-Twitter security head


Twitter Inc misled federal regulators about its security defenses and spam accounts, CNN and the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing whistleblower disclosures by the company’s former security chief Peiter Zatko last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission

Citing Zatko, CNN reported Twitter executives don’t have the resources to fully understand the true number of bots on the platform.

The allegations: Zatko accused Twitter, its chief executive Parag Agrawal and other executives and directors of “extensive legal violations,” including making misleading statements to users, misrepresentations to investors and acting with “negligence and even complicity” toward efforts by foreign governments to infiltrate the platform.

The India angle: The former security head’s complaint says he believed the Indian government had forced Twitter to put one of its agents on the payroll, with access to user data at a time of intense protests in the country. The complaint said supporting information for that claim has gone to the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Another person familiar with the matter agreed that the employee was probably an “agent.”

Earlier in the day, the Musk vs Twitter battle took a new turn when the Tesla CEO – also the prospective buyer of Twitter – sought documents from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Driving the news:
Musk is looking to secure documents about his April agreement to buy Twitter and the number of spam accounts on the platform from Dorsey, who resigned as Twitter’s chief executive in November. Musk and Dorsey are long-time friends, and Dorsey has even supported Musk’s bid to buy Twitter in the past.

Apple’s plan to make in India


Two months after the iPhone 14 is first made available in China, Apple Inc. intends to begin producing the device in India, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday.

Apple has long made most of its iPhones in China and has been seeking alternatives amid the Chinese government’s clashes with the US and other factors including recent lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus

Tell me more: According to the report, which cited people with knowledge of the situation, the company has been collaborating with suppliers to increase production in India and reduce the time it takes to produce new iPhones from the usual six to nine months for previous launches.

ET had reported earlier that Apple could be evaluating shipping its upcoming iPhone 14 from India.

While in the short term, India’s iPhone capacities/shipments still have a considerable gap with China, it is an important milestone for Apple as it will be building a non-Chinese iPhone production site.

The India blueprint: The US-based company has been gradually ramping up the production of iPhones in India. Currently, its devices are manufactured in India by three contract manufacturers — Foxconn (Hon Hai), Wistron and Pegatron. The three Apple partners are part of the Indian government’s production-linked incentive scheme for mobile manufacturing. They need to make products worth a minimum of Rs 8,000 crore each this year to get the incentives.

The timeline:
After the first release in September, the first iPhone 14s from India will probably be finished in late October or November. An ambitious target would be Diwali which begins on October 24, one person told the news agency.

Back-to-work pangs: Apple employees have hit back at the tech giant’s return-to-office orders and launched a petition saying the firm risked stifling diversity and staff wellbeing by restricting their ability to work remotely.

The petition is in response to an all-employee memo from the CEO Tim Cook, who last week said workers would have to come into the office for at least three days a week from September, citing the Financial Times, the New York Post reported.

Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital to back sexual health startup Mojocare

Eduardo Saverin

Indian healthtech startup Mojocare is close to raising $20 million in a series A funding backed by B Capital Group, the venture capital company founded by Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin and Raj Ganguly, according to a Bloomberg report.

The round, which might be disclosed as soon as Tuesday, is likely to see participation from existing investors Sequoia India, Chiratae Ventures, and Better Capital, among others.

What does Mojocare do? Mojocare helps consumers address issues including reproductive health and fertility, hair care, and weight loss through an online platform that includes product sales, consultations with doctors, and customized treatment plans.

The Bengaluru company intends to use the money to further diversify and widen its product line.

A look at B Capital: Founded in 2015 by Saverin and Ganguly, B Capital helps startups gain scale and transform their industries. It counts about $6.5 billion in assets under management and more than 125 portfolio companies.

Tweet of the day

Netflix ramps up hiring for its cloud gaming ambitions


Streaming giant Netflix has intensified hiring plans for its cloud gaming division as it looks to challenge cloud-gaming rivals such as Sony PlayStation, Google Stadia, Apple Arcade and Amazon Luna.

Here are the details: According to Protocol, a technology-tracking website, the company is looking for a security product manager with experience in handling “cloud gaming challenges”, a rendering engineer who can support Netflix’s “cloud gaming service”, and other similar positions.

Netflix has been doubling down on the gaming space over the last few months. In March, it acquired Boss Fight — its third gaming studio in the last six months and has released a couple of mobile games, including two based on its popular IP, Stranger Things. It plans to launch at least 50 more games by the end of this year.

The company has over 221 million subscribers, of which less than 1% play its mobile games.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Gaurab Dasgupta and Ruchir Vyas in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

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