On Thursday Epic filed a lawsuit in federal court after Apple pulled "Fortnite" from its App Store to punish Epic for implementing a payment mechanism that bypassed Apple's practice of taking a 30% commission on in-app purchases. The suit seeks a court order ending Apple's commission structure and forcing Apple to allow users to install software on iPhones outside the confines of the App Store. Epic is not the first to sue over the App Store.
Facebook has joined the protest against Apple's "App Store tax", accusing the iPhone maker of creaming off the "hard-earned" income of small businesses struggling with the pandemic. The social media titan said it would be waiving all fees for the first year of its new online events service, which will let users market, host and get paid for hosting live broadcasts. But it also warned customers that Apple had refused to waive its own 30pc cut, meaning that they would lose 30pc of any tickets bought using Facebook's iPhone and iPad apps. It came just one day after Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, goaded Apple into kicking the game off its App Store and then ambushed it with a lawsuit for monopoly abuse lawsuit. Both actions are part of a broad revolt among app makers against Apple's rigid App Store fees, which critics characterise as anti-competitive rent-seeking. Fidji Simo, the vice president in charge of Facebook's main app, said: "To support small businesses and creators, Facebook will not collect any fees from paid online events for at least the next year... small businesses will keep 100p of the revenue they generate from paid online events. "We asked Apple to reduce its 30pc App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during Covid-19. "Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and [businesses] will only be paid 70pc of their hard-earned revenue."
President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance on Friday to divest the U.S. operations of its video-sharing app TikTok within 90 days, the latest effort to ramp up pressure on the Chinese company over concerns about the safety of the personal data it handles. "There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance ... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," Trump said in the order. Trump's latest move comes on top of an executive order he issued last week that would prohibit certain transactions with TikTok unless ByteDance divests it within 45 days.
Aug.14 -- Ebony Beckwith, chief philanthropy officer at Salesforce.com Inc, discusses the ways the technology company is helping schools and government get back to work during the Covid-19 pandemic. She speaks with Emily Chang on "Bloomberg Technology."
Aug.14 -- Guy Primus, chief executive officer of Valence, discusses why he saw the need for a networking community for black professionals. He speaks with Bloomberg's Emily Chang.
Aug.14 -- Dr. Aynne Kokas, associate professor of media studies at University of Virginia and author of "Hollywood Made In China," discusses a possible Microsoft Corp. acquisition of the U.S. operations of Bytedance Ltd.'s video sharing app TikTok. Dr. Kokas speaks on "Bloomberg Technology."
Final regulations that guide businesses and consumers under California's new digital privacy law went into effect on Friday, marking a significant step towards giving Americans the right to request their data be deleted from e-commerce websites and social media. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), effective since the start of 2020, oversees the data collection practices of U.S. companies and allows state residents to opt out of having data sold to third parties. The law gives California residents the right to see the specific pieces of personal data that a company has collected on them - such as smartphone locations, voice recordings, ride-hailing routes, biometric facial data and ad-targeting data.
Brazilian gaming company Wildlife Studios said on Friday it had raised $120 million from Vulcan Capital, a fund tied to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, which now values the company at $3 billion. Wildlife, which develops mobile games, had already become a unicorn last December with a $1 billion valuation, after raising $60 million from the US hedge fund Benchmark Capital. Overall, Wildlife has raised $250 million.
British privacy activists are mounting a mammoth lawsuit accusing two American tech giants of systematically invading people's privacy using cookies embedded on popular websites such as Amazon, Spotify, Ikea and Reddit. The non-profit Privacy Collective will file a class action lawsuit against Oracle and Salesforce, two prolific business software companies, in England's High Court later this year, alleging that they shared users' data with other companies without proper consent. Together with a second lawsuit filed in the Netherlands today, the activists believe they could win total of 10bn euros (£9bn) in damages for people affected by the cookies, which they estimate were placed on around 10pc of all websites. If victorious, the suits could topple a central pillar of the targeted advertising industry by establishing widely-used data-grabbing tactics as contrary to European privacy laws. Amazon, Spotify and other websites that carried the cookies are not accused of any wrongdoing.
Facebook said it requested the waiver so that small businesses would not have to pay Apple's cut for a new paid online events product the world's biggest social media company is launching on its core platform. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Thursday, Apple removed popular video game "Fortnite" from its app store for violating its in-app payment guidelines, sparking a backlash online and prompting developer Epic Games to file a federal antitrust lawsuit challenging Apple's rules.
The U.S. Justice Department said CenturyLink Inc agreed to settle allegations it repeatedly violated a court-ordered judgment designed to prevent anticompetitive effects stemming from its $24 billion acquisition of rival wireline telecommunications provider Level 3 Communications Inc in 2017. The Justice Department said CenturyLink had initiated contact on over 70 occasions with former Level 3 customers even though the judgment barred it from soliciting customers that switched to the buyer of assets divested during the deal. CenturyLink has agreed to the appointment of an independent trustee to monitor an amended court agreement, the Justice Department said.
A 30-year-old man injured in a Revel scooter accident three days before the company suspended its New York City operations last month has died of his injuries, police said Friday. The death of Francis Nunez marked the third fatality involving the scooters in the city. The Bronx resident was driving a scooter in upper Manhattan on the afternoon of July 25 when he lost control and hit a pole.
Aug.14 -- Billionaire macro and cryptocurrency investor Michael Novogratz, founder and chief executive officer of Galaxy Investment Partners, says the markets are in a "liquidity-driven frenzy." He speaks with Bloomberg's Taylor Riggs and Sonali Basak on "Balance of Power."
Israel and the United States are nearing a deal whereby Israel would commit not to use Chinese technology for its next generation 5G mobile telecoms networks, a U.S. official said. The newspaper quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying that the United States was "optimistic that Israel will ... choose to only allow trusted vendors in its 5G networks".
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John Ross worries about his children returning to their classrooms this fall with coronavirus cases rising in Kentucky, but he feels he doesn't have much of a choice: His family's limited internet access makes it nearly impossible for the kids to keep up with schoolwork from home. “They’re going to have their education,” the father of three in rural Lee County said as he recalled his children’s struggles to do their work this spring over a spotty cellphone connection. Lee County, a community of around 7,000 people deep in the Appalachian Mountains, is one of many rural school districts around the country where the decision over whether to bring students back into classrooms is particularly fraught.
A Miami businessman accused of being the mastermind behind the largest fraud case in Vermont's history pleaded guilty on Friday over a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant using tens of millions of dollars in foreign investors' money. Ariel Quiros, 64, the former owner of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain ski resorts in northern Vermont, changed his plea to guilty on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and the concealment of material information. Quiros pleaded guilty via video conference to the three separate charges, one at a time, after being asked by US District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford.
Epic Games started a social media campaign against the iPhone maker by releasing a parody of Apple's iconic "1984" commercial in its video game, and soon the hashtag "#FreeFortnite" was trending on Twitter. Gamers with hundreds of thousands of YouTube followers took to the video-streaming platform and other social media platforms to share their thoughts on the situation and show their support.
The Government should intervene in Arm's potential sale to US chip firm Nvidia to ensure that British jobs and its Cambridge headquarters are protected, MPs have urged. Talks between UK chip designer Arm and US firm Nvidia are accelerating with a $40bn (£30bn) deal expected to be thrashed out by the end of the month. Negotiations between the Cambridge microprocessor designer, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, and Nvidia, the Silicon Valley firm that builds graphics chips, are understood to have been exclusive for the last fortnight. Arm's designs are used in billions of chips in nearly every smartphone and other gadgets. The exclusivity period is expected to last 30 to 45 days, after which the companies would walk away or the talks would open to other parties. However, the deal has resurfaced an agreement made between Britain's Takeover Panel and SoftBank that said Arm's headquarters would remain at its base in Cherry Hinton in Cambridge and double UK staff numbers to around 3,500 by 2021. Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP for Cambridge, told The Telegraph the Government should ensure these terms were enforced in the event of a sale. He said: “Arm is an iconic company. So far, SoftBank have kept to the post-offer undertaking. [Job] numbers have risen in Cambridge. But now it is not clear. If they do not roll them over then what was the point of them?” Earlier this week, Mr Zeichner wrote to Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, asking for assurances that Arm would not be sold again and that the Government should encourage a UK bid to take control of at least 50pc of the firm.
Designed to combat summer heat, monsoon rain and the coronavirus, the smart bus shelter has arrived on the streets of the South Korean capital. The glass cube "Smart Shelter" has air-conditioning and ultraviolet light sterilisers to clean and cool the air, surveillance cameras and digital screens to warn when your bus approaches. "I felt uncomfortable at first as I had to take my temperature before I entered, but it didn’t take that long," said 25-year-old university student Park Sung-yeon.
Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding <BABA.N>, has made a preparatory filing with China's securities regulator for its planned blockbuster initial public offering. The group, China's biggest mobile payments company, said in July it had started the process for a dual listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Nasdaq-like STAR market, kicking off one of the world's most hotly anticipated IPOs. Ant Group did not disclose the size, timetable or other details of the offering at the time.
Amazon is to create more than 1,000 jobs at a new warehouse in Nottinghamshire after consumers stampeded to embrace internet shopping during lockdown. The firm is building a 1.75m sq ft distribution centre - the size of 22 football pitches - which occupies a site near Sutton-in-Ashfield that has been empty for nearly 10 years. Its hiring spree comes amid a blizzard of job losses on the high street, with more than 25,000 cuts announced by stalwarts such as John Lewis and Boots as customers turn to the internet. Initially it had been hoped that the warehouse could employ up to 1,800 people when plans for Amazon’s Nottinghamshire expansion were first revealed in 2019. Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, said at the time that Amazon’s decision to expand into the area was “the biggest single private sector investment in the district for quite some time, maybe ever.” Amazon is currently hiring engineers and other employees for the site. Construction of the warehouse started last year. The company has long been boosted by a shift in consumer behaviour as shoppers desert the high street to go online instead. This trend was turbocharged by lockdown, with a 73pc surge in internet sales acccording to the Office for National Statistics. It was reported earlier this month that Amazon has been in talks with large department stores in the US to turn them into warehouses as shoppers continue to avoid bricks and mortar sites. Amazon reportedly held discussions with US shopping centre owner Simon Property over converting JCPenney and Sears buildings into warehouses. There are 63 Penney and 11 Sears stores in Simon shopping centres. Last month, Amazon revealed that its profits had more than doubled to $5.2bn (£3.9bn) in the three months to the end of June, compared to a year earlier. It previously warned heavy spending during the pandemic could push it to a loss. Jonatan Gal, Amazon’s director of UK customer fulfilment, said: “We are excited to continue our expansion in the UK’s East Midlands, creating a further 1,000 new permanent roles. “As well as providing competitive wages and benefits from day one, we have also invested heavily to create the most modern, high-tech and safest working environment for our employees.”
Walmart's <WMT.N> e-commerce platform Flipkart has partnered with a startup backed by spirits giant Diageo to deliver alcohol in two Indian states, according to government letters seen by Reuters, months after Amazon <AMZN.O> planned a similar foray. Flipkart and Amazon's interest in delivering alcohol in India marks a bold move to make inroads into an alcohol market that is worth $27.2 billion, according to estimates by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.