Coronavirus vaccine, Rightmove, LinkedIn, KPMG, Marks and Spencer, Chilango, Klarna, TikTok, Slack and Microsoft Teams, Uber: your commercial news round-up

updated on 23 July 2020

LawCareersNet’s commercial news round-up summarises some of the most significant news stories from the previous week to support you as you develop your commercial awareness.

  • The University of Oxford has developed a coronavirus vaccine which, following trials of 1,077 people, appears safe and led to those involved creating antibodies and T-cells to fight the virus. The university plans to coordinate further trials to determine whether the vaccine offers enough protection against coronavirus. Meanwhile, the UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, according to the BBC.
  • As businesses around the world implement cost-saving measures in attempts to weather the effects of coronavirus, networking site LinkedIn is to cut 960 jobs worldwide, affecting 6% of the company’s global workforce. The cuts come as recruitment has decreased in light of the pandemic. Meanwhile big four accountancy firm KPMG announced cuts to 100 jobs, alongside reductions to pension contributions and high street retailer Marks and Spencer has revealed plans to cut 950 jobs.  
  • Chilango prepares to ender administration as the coronavirus pandemic further impacted the already struggling restaurant. The Mexican restaurant chain faced rising operational costs and mounting debts prior to the crisis with rescue measures, including rent cuts, introduced.
  • Buy now, pay later service Klarna has reported a rise in business during lockdown, as the firm tightened its rules on lending. According to the BBC, there was a 105% increase in the number of running shoes purchased using Klarna, a 60% rise in beauty product sales and a jump in bicycle and cycling accessory sales.
  • The video-sharing social networking service TikTok could be split from ByteDance – its Chinese parent company worth £86 billion – and sold to US investors in a bid to prevent the US from banning the app after fears about TikTok’s data protection policy surfaced. Meanwhile, in response to privacy concerns raised by clients, global law firm Ropes & Gray has banned lawyers and staff across its global network from using use the app on devices which receive work emails.
  • An antitrust claim has been filed by work messaging platform Slack against Microsoft. Slack’s complaint that Microsoft’s Teams has an unfair advantage will be reviewed by the European Commission.
  • The ongoing gig economy case about whether Uber drivers are workers or self-employed will see two former Uber drivers – Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar – face the company in court on Tuesday. The ex-Uber drivers said that they were denied basic rights when the ride-hailing company classed them as contractors. The 2016 decision in favour of the Uber drivers has been appealed by the firm to the UK’s Supreme Court, with the judgment set to be binding, according to the BBC.

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