Daily Column – 30th August 2021

Apple seems to be relaxing it’s stand

Apple has decided to let its walled garden be available to the public. Just a smidgeon. It will enable developers to notify their consumers about payment methods available outside of it’s owned and operated App Store and ecosystem.

What it is and isn’t: App developers may now send payment alternatives to clients through email or text message. They are still tethered to Apple’s payment system and can’t run any advertising inside the iOS app (which is a shame). The business has expanded the range of pricing ranges available to developers and established a fund of $100 million for individuals earning less than $1 million. The proposed deal must be approved by Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is the same judge overseeing the Apple vs. Epic lawsuit.

Not everyone is pleased: Apple detractors such as Match Group & Spotify, as well as Epic Games, are not pleased. Spotify believes it is only a ruse to deceive authorities and stifle worldwide opposition to its anti-competitive policies, notably in the App Store.

Is this a good move by Apple?

Apple has definitely taken a strategic decision. Small developers gain access to the coveted platform, while those that aren’t, such as Spotify, appear to be asking for a lot. A measure has already been introduced in the US Senate to limit Apple and Google’s power and influence in app distribution. It might be attempting to purchase some goodwill by demonstrating its willingness to surrender some ground (as it did before with child pornography and privacy). Apple was already facing a worldwide backlash, and if it could cushion the impact from courts and legislators in the United States, it might be able to aid abroad as well.

China will not allow big tech exploit

While countries such as the United States struggle to secure algorithmic accountability from internet companies such as Facebook & Google, China wants to lay down the practise to them on how it’s done. It is proposing laws that would restrict the capacity of its large internet companies to employ advanced algorithms to propose material to consumers.

Companies like Tencent, Kuaishou and ByteDance, who rely on proprietary AI-based algorithms to power their products, are likely to be affected by these regulations. According to Bloomberg, the laws will “prohibit activities that foster addiction or excessive consumption,” in addition to those that “threaten national security or disrupt economic and social order.”

There’s more to come: Beijing also instructed platforms to delete “popularity lists” and limit “minor involvement” while taking additional efforts to maintain “cultural order” in order to govern “online fan culture.”

Only positive news: For the next two months, China will delete social media accounts that attack its capital sector and will not broadcast any material it deems “damaging to its economy.”

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