Google to Launch Cloud Gaming Service Stadia on November 19; Donald Trump Joins Amazon’s Twitch; AMC to Start Online Movie Streaming Service; Amazon Music to Feature on Apple TVs; CAIT Attempts to Close In on ‘Deep Discount’ Controversy; Flipkart Forays into Original Videos and Food Retail; Plea before NGT against Use of Plastic by E-Commerce Companies; Shopmatic Acquires Full Stakes in CombineSell and more.
Gaming and Licensing News
Google to Launch Cloud Gaming Service Stadia on November 19
Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, will be launched on November 19, 2019, as announced by the company at the Pixel 4 launch event on Tuesday. Stadia is claimed to be Google’s shot at bringing about a major change in the video gaming arena. Instead of being available only over a pc or a gaming console, Stadia will provide popular games like Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy XV, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Mortal Kombat 11, in the cloud. Users will be able to play directly through Chromecast or any browser as well as on their smartphones. The service will be available for USD 10 every month.
Donald Trump Joins Amazon’s Twitch
US President Donal Trump has become the newest member of Amazon’s live video game streaming platform, Twitch. Ironically, Trump had openly spoken against video games at a meet in May, linking them to glorification of violence and desensitization in children. Twitch has over 15 million users. After Twitter and Instagram, this move is seen as Trump’s attempt to reach out to maximum number of people for the 2020 re-election campaign.
AMC to Start Online Movie Streaming Service
United States’ largest movie chain, AMC Theatres, is about to join the online streaming service race. The service, titled AMC Theatres on Demand, would be a user-choice based movie marketplace where users can buy or rent movies to watch whenever they want. This service is tied to AMC’s Stubs Loyalty Program having over 20 million-members whose movie habits would be useful to provide tailor-made suggestions. AMC Theatres On Demand will have over 2,000 movies from major studios for its viewers.
Amazon Music to Feature on Apple TVs
Amazon has unveiled a new music app especially for Apple TV and Apple TV 4K giving users access to over 50 million songs. The Apple TV users will be able to search for any music and also see lyrics on the screen. Amazon Music aims to provide easy access to its users, irrespective of the device. The app will be available in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, India and Brazil.
eCommerce Law News
CAIT Attempts to Close In on ‘Deep Discount’ Controversy
At the meeting held by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on the direction of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Flipkart and Amazon have refuted all claims of foul-play in their recent festive sale events. However, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which had lodged the complaint against the e-commerce giants, has shown emails sent by Flipkart and Amazon to the sellers to offer high discount rates in exchange of credit rewards. CAIT has threatened to approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and resort to legal remedies to get to the root of this matter. The CAIT has alleged repeated FDI violations by the e-commerce platforms, protesting against their deep discounting methods which amounts to unfair business practices and loss to the offline stores and retailers. As the e-commerce platforms have strongly denied all allegations, the CAIT now demands clarification from the brands as to who offers such discounts.
Flipkart Forays into Original Videos and Food Retail
Flipkart’s latest competitive move against Amazon is bringing original content to its free video service platform. Flipkart Video Originals will air short stories and entertainment shows featuring Bollywood celebrities and other artists. Flipkart’s 160-million customer base is a ripe market for original content creators and the company intends to tap this resource for further expansion of its business in the country. Rival Amazon also uses Prime Videos as a platform for original content circulation and to increase customer base in smaller towns.
Flipkart is also set to enter the food retail market in India by launching Flipkart Farmermart, an online platform where local farmers can directly sell their produce. The Walmart-owned company has invested Rs. 1,845 crore capital for this new venture heavily rely on the fact that the FDI in food retail sector for Indian-manufactured food items is 100%. This might later be extended to offline physical stores as well. The company awaits the appropriate licenses from the government and Flipkart comes second to its arch rival, Amazon, which launched two-hour delivery of fresh grocery only a few months ago.
Plea before NGT against Use of Plastic by E-Commerce Companies
A young environmentalist by the name Aditya Dubey has filed a petition concerning the right to live in a plastic-free environment before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) highlighting the over-use of single-use plastic by the e-commerce companies. The petition illustrates how companies like Flipkart and Amazon India use oversized cardboard boxes to deliver products, wrapping them in plastic bubble wrap sheets and filling empty spaces with extra sheets. He pointed out the insurmountable damage that plastic cause to the environment as well as to human life and suggested alternatives like wood wool, paper bubble wrap, etc. instead of plastic bubble wraps for packaging breakable products. The Government of India too has called on the e-commerce companies to gradually reduce single-use plastics which reportedly comprises of 40% of India’s plastic consumption. As a result, both Flipkart and Amazon have released statements with a commitment to address the problem.
Shopmatic Acquires Full Stakes in CombineSell
Global e-commerce enabler, Shopmatic, has recently acquired 100% stake in CombineSell Pvt. Ltd., a software-as-a-service (SAAS) platform which helps sellers sell their products across multiple e-commerce platforms and run promotional campaigns for business growth. Prior to this, Singapore-based Shopmatic had acquired 50.01% stakes in Octopus, a retail management and point-of-sale solution provider. The company claims that its object is to integrate over 25,000 small and medium businesses registered on its platform and expand their business across e-commerce platforms by enabling integrated payment and shipping options along with data analytics. CombineSell, on the other hand, has more than 30 channel integrations including Amazon, eBay and Shopee. By acquiring CombineSell, Shopmatic can now give its merchants access to all these channels at once.
Authored and compiled by Anusmita Mazumder and Ashwini Arun (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
The eCommerce Law and IP Transactions News Bulletin is brought to you by the eCommerce Law and Consulting/Strategy Division of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: eCommerce Law News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.