Thousands of employees are in limbo as 169 McDonald’s outlets in North and East India are set to close today. That’s because Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL), a 50:50 joint venture between McDonald’s and estranged partner Vikram Bakshi, will no longer be allowed to use the American fast food major’s brand name and intellectual property — signs, Big Mac recipes, down to the soda cups. The two partners have been embroiled in a legal battle for years now, and McDonald’s last month terminated their agreement, alleging financial irregularities and material breaches to the franchisee deal. Bakshi lost a final legal appeal today. “This will cause widespread damage to the lives of over 10,000 Indians (directly and indirectly), the company, the suppliers and all business associates,” Bakshi has said. McDonald’s has made no statement on the number of jobs affected.The battle has brought some cheer at least to competing chain Subway, which saw a 8% jump in sales.
Apple’s refusal to approve India’s anti-spam iPhone app may harm the company’s expansion plans here. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India wanted its own ‘Do Not Disturb’ app included in Apple’s e-store to help mobile operators block spammers. Apple, however, argued that this ask violates its policies. Presently, Apple has just a 2.6% share of India’s smartphone market, which is dominated by Google’s Android. Given its slowing revenue from developed markets, Apple CEO Tim Cook is betting big on India, where at least half a billion smartphones will be sold by 2020.
India has deregistered 200,000 suspected companies and frozen their bank accounts. The reason: no business operations for the last two years. The move is part of a larger crackdown on illegal transactions and tax evasion. Banks have also been put on notice to immediately restrict the bank accounts of the struck-off companies and increase their due diligence.
More than 7,000 Indians in the US, who arrived illegally as children, could face deportation as US President Donald Trump repealed an Obama-era amnesty program. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protects 800,000 people from deportation and allows them to apply for work permits. The affected people might lose their right to attend college, purchase homes and begin careers in the US.
Amazon India may stop doling discounts as it seeks to become profitable by 2019. The global e-commerce giant, which has already spent $2 billion in India, aims to cut losses without compromising on sales growth through its “Get Fit” campaign. Launched in June 2016, it involves cutting packaging costs, bringing more automation into warehouses and delivering products more efficiently. Meanwhile, Flipkart is expanding its war chest and it will be interesting to see if Amazon can retain customers even with a zero discounts strategy.
Idea of the day: Omnicomm Chief Innovation Officer Avinash Jhangiani shares his two cents on how companies can bring creativity back to the workplace. He says, “Digital transformation is about people, not about technology or art.”
“The reason why most companies are failing at transformation and innovation is because they haven’t learnt how to fail fast…We struggle because “Play” and “Work” seem paradoxical.”
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