According to multiple independent reports, Microsoft is interested in acquiring Discord, an instant messaging and digital distribution platform that’s especially popular among Gen Z gamers.
While the two companies are still far away from striking a deal, Microsoft seems to be the only potential buyer at the moment, and the software giant is willing to pay up to $10 billion to add Discord to its portfolio.
But why is one of the largest companies in the world interested in spending so much money to buy what was once the alt-right’s favorite chat app? The answer may surprise you: Microsoft isn’t really interested in the platform itself; it’s interested in the community of around 150 million monthly active users.
“Creation, creation, creation — the next 10 years is going to be as much about creation as it is about consumption and about the community around it, so it’s not creating alone,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “If the last 10 years has been about consumption — we’re shopping more, we’re browsing more, we’re binge-watching more — there is creation behind every one of those.”
Discord is a huge community of content creators, and many of its users play video games on Microsoft’s video game consoles. In the past, Microsoft had attempted to create a place for gamers to “come together to talk about games, watch games, watch others play games,” as Xbox chief Phil Spencer put it, by purchasing live streaming platform Beam and renaming it Mixer, but that effort turned out to be a failure.
The difference between mixer and Discord is that the latter platform is already loved by its target audience, so Microsoft wouldn’t face an uphill struggle and could simply focus on tightening the integration between Xbox, PC, and Discord.
“There’s a big opportunity to bundle Discord’s premium offering, Nitro, into the Game Pass service to drive more subscriptions from the last reported 18 million,” pointed out Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst Matthew Kanterman.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft has been looking for its next big acquisition for quite some time now. The company attempted to purchase both TikTok and Pinterest but failed each time. It will be interesting to see if things will work out on the third try.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.