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S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Microsoft faces new Excel rival as it’s forced to separate teams from office



Plus: BlackBerry CEO sued by former senior employee for sexual harassment.

The SaaS Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering major SaaS news from Canada and around the globe.

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Microsoft to separate Teams and Office globally amid antitrust scrutiny

Microsoft will sell its chat and video app Teams separately from its Office product globally, the U.S. tech giant said on Monday, six months after it unbundled the two products in Europe in a bid to avert a possible EU antitrust fine.

The European Commission has been investigating Microsoft’s tying of Office and Teams since a 2020 complaint by Salesforce-owned competing workspace messaging app Slack.

BNN Bloomberg also reported: French software startup Pigment SAS is said to be the country’s newest unicorn after raising $145 million in venture capital, 10 months after its last financing.

The company likens its offering to a sleeker, savvier version of Microsoft Excel.

(The Globe and Mail)

Recon Instruments founder unveils new AR swim goggles

After four years of fine tuning the design of its flagship product, Form has unveiled the second generation of its smart goggles: Smart Swim 2.

Similar to the first iteration of the product, the Smart Swim 2 goggles use onboard sensors and Waveguide, a technology that directs visual information to the swimmer’s eyes, to deliver athletes real-time swimming metrics, such as stroke rate and pace, as well as guided workouts and real-time coaching.


BlackBerry CEO sexually harassed senior employee, lawsuit claims

A former BlackBerry Ltd. employee has filed a lawsuit against the company and its new chief executive John Giamatteo, who she claims sexually harassed her and then retaliated against her after she reported the behaviour.

The complainant, a California-based woman of colour who worked for the Waterloo, Ont.-based tech company for more than a decade, including in several senior roles, alleges members of the firm’s leadership ranks were aware of her complaints when Giamatteo was named chief executive in December.

(Toronto Star)

Eirene raises $4.1-million seed round to simplify end-of-life solutions

Toronto-based software startup Eirene has closed $4.1 million CAD in seed funding as it looks to help provide more families with online cremation solutions.

Its new seed funding will be used to scale Eirene’s platform, with a focus on its US expansion, building its brand, and hiring new team members.


Exclusive: Google parent Alphabet weighs offer for HubSpot

Google parent Alphabet has been talking to its advisers about the possibility of making an offer for HubSpot, an online marketing software company with a market value of $35 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

If Alphabet moves ahead with a bid, it would be a rare example of a major technology company attempting a mega deal amid heightened regulatory scrutiny of the sector under U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.


“The stakes are high”: CCI report calls on feds, provinces to revamp approach to buying from Canadian tech companies

The Council of Canadian Innovators believes that improving Canada’s approach to public procurement could help address the nation’s “historic innovation underperformance.”

According to the report, in 2021, procurement amounted to 14.6 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product, while typically, procurement accounts for over a quarter of all public sector spending. As CCI noted, given the amount of money at play, “the stakes are high.”


Hard Knocks: Marcus Daniels on creating impact over activity in #CDNtech

In the first entry of Hard Knocks, a four-part series presented by Mantle where key players from Canadian tech share insights, war stories, and lessons learned, Highline Beta CEO Marcus Daniels believes Canadian tech is facing an “Old Yeller” moment.

Well, not entirely. To Daniels, Canada does a fantastic job cheering for its triumphs, even those he considers to be “superficial wins.” However, he believes the real test comes when things aren’t going well, and it’s time to pull the plug.


Rubrik files to go public as tech companies see thawing of IPO market

Rubrik, a nine-year-old data security software vendor, filed to go public on Monday, the latest venture-backed company to move toward the public market after an extended lull dating back to late 2021.

Following a dry spell that lasted over two years, the market for initial public offerings is showing signs of life in recent weeks.


Startup Open House returns to its roots after acquisition by MTL NewTech

Nonprofit MTL NewTech has acquired the rights to Startup Open House from Elevate and will bring the event back to Montréal this spring.

“An initiative like Startup Open House really represents us to the core of everything we try to do,” said Simran Kanda, executive director at MTL NewTech. “Part of it is just being involved, present, and supporting the ecosystem and the community, but also to help inspire new generations of entrepreneurs.”


Class-action lawsuit by taxi drivers against Quebec’s handling of Uber begins

A trial opens Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit accusing the Quebec government of wiping out hundreds of millions of dollars in the value of taxi permits by allowing ride-hailing company Uber to operate and then by abolishing the permit system.

Quebec allowed Uber to violate the laws and regulations governing the taxi industry when the company started operating in the province in 2013, “which led to a drop in demand for taxi owners’ permits and an inevitable decline in their value,” according to the statement of claim.


BetaKit Live: How Coinbase is growing crypto adoption in Canada

Coinbase announced it has obtained restricted dealer status from the Canadian Securities Administrators, making it the first international and largest cryptocurrency exchange to be registered in Canada.

In partnership with Coinbase, BetaKit is happy to present a live-streamed fireside discussion tackling the company’s focus on growing the opportunity for digital assets in Canada, the future of money, and Canada’s innovation opportunity.


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