Published on September 28, 2020 by Holly Porter

What’s been happening in the commercial world in the past week? Read on to find out!

Amazon Launches Video Gaming Platform

This week, Amazon announced its cloud-based games-streaming service, Luna. Users will be able to subscribe to different selections of games as part of separate ‘channels’, starting with Luna Plus. There is no release date for the UK so far and it is only available on an early-access, invitation trial in the US. However, there are some important things to note about it.

Firstly, whilst Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud have not been able to circumvent Apple’s strict rules, Luna will be able to function on Apple devices. It will exist not as a downloadable app, but instead as a progressive web app (PWA).

Another interesting aspect of this is the potential integration between Amazon-owned Twitch and Luna. The video live streaming service will likely now be used to promote Luna.

In a video game market with expected revenues of $159.3bn in 2020, and projected growth to revenue of $200bn by the end of 2023, Big Tech is racing to launch a competitive subscription package. It is not yet clear whether any companies will be able to compete with Microsoft.

Talking Point: What other Big Tech companies have announced subscription packages in the last few weeks?

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Uber Wins Appeal Against London Ban

On Monday, Uber won its appeal against Transport for London’s ban in the capital. The court has ruled that the ride-hailing giant is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence and does in fact meet the safety standards set by the government body. This is great news for the 45,000 Uber drivers who work in London and ends years of uncertainty for the company.

Aldi to Expand Business

German supermarket Aldi has committed to a £1.3bn investment in the UK. This comprises 100 new stores, the creation of another 4,000 jobs and purchase and expansion of warehouses. Aldi is currently the fifth largest UK grocer with 894 stores and 36,000 staff. Aldi has an 8% share of the UK market and has enjoyed a 49% rise in pre-tax profits compared with the previous 12 months, making it, alongside Lidl, the fastest-growing supermarket chain in recent years.

The supermarket is also investing in a click and collect service, which it launched last week and delivery service through Deliveroo. This comes as online supermarket shopping has rocketed, a trend which Ocado believes is a permanent one. Since March, regular online shopping amongst the over-55 age group trebled and 32% of 35-44 years complete at least one online food shop each week. Waitrose & Partners executive director James Bailey has described the lockdown shift as ‘irreversible changes’. Aldi’s UK chief executive Giles Hurley says the developments are imperative to meet new consumer demands.

Talking point: Do you think the move to online grocery shopping is a permanent one?

Airbus Aims For Zero-Emission Planes

Last week, European aerospace giant Airbus announced its plans for the world’s first commercial zero-emission aircraft. Chief executive Guillaume Faury touted the airliner manufacturer’s three initial concepts as ‘historic’ and revealed launching plans for 2035.  Airbus has collaborated with EasyJet on this matter in a year-long research project considering the future for hybrid and electric aircraft.

The new passenger planes are set to be fuelled by gas-turbine engines which will have been modified to burn liquid hydrogen. The move could significantly reduce aviation’s climate impact.

However, it should be noted that in order for the plan to work, huge investment will be needed not only in developing the aircraft but also for airports to commit to revamping their refuelling infrastructure. Faury recommended decisive action from the ‘entire aviation ecosystem’ to ensure success.

Talking point: What is rival Boeing doing to develop the aviation industry in a more environmentally friendly fashion? 

Tesla ‘Battery Day’ Disappointment

High expectations ran for investors approaching Tesla’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and Battery Day. The company’s co-founder and CEO had encouraged speculation over an announcement for a ‘one million mile battery’. Despite other cutting-edge developments such as a new cathode plant in North America, a $25,000 car and improved battery range, the company’s stock value plunged more than $50bn, reinforcing Tesla as one of the most volatile in the stock market.

Talking point: What else has happened recently in the EV industry which may have had an impact on Tesla’s share price?

Words: Holly Porter

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