Apple Revises App Store Pricing Policy, Adding 700 Options

Apple has updated its App Store pricing in what some have interpreted as a preemptive move against regulatory and legal pressure over store policies. Apple is offering developers “700 additional price points and new pricing tools” to make it easier to set prices per App Store country or region and manage foreign exchange rate changes, among other things. The move brings the total number of available App Store price points to 900 and allows developers in the U.S. to set prices ranging from $0.29 to $10,000. The new policy is expected to roll out soon in global markets. Continue reading Apple Revises App Store Pricing Policy, Adding 700 Options

Taylor Swift Fans File Class Action Suit Against Ticketmaster

A group of 26 Taylor Swift fans have filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, alleging anticompetitive conduct and fraud after a glitch resulted in the ticketing service canceling sales to Swift’s “Eras” tour, leaving thousands of fans — some of whom waited four to eight hours in ticket queues last month — “empty-handed and unhappy,” according to The New York Times. Their outcry resulted in not only a 33-page complaint filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, but also Congressional demands to unwind the 2010 merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Swift’s 52-show Eras tour is scheduled to begin in March. Continue reading Taylor Swift Fans File Class Action Suit Against Ticketmaster

Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

Next week, the EU’s Digital Markets Act takes effect, and U.S. tech giants are preparing for headaches. Among the DMA’s goals is making companies like Amazon, Google and Meta Platforms more open and interoperable in 2023. Last month, veteran EU official Gerard de Graaf, who helped create the DMA, was installed as director of a satellite office in San Francisco. There, he will help Big Tech prepare for breaking out their wallets and breaking open their walled gardens as the result of  “significant” changes to how they’ve been doing business in Europe. Meanwhile, telecoms in Europe are looking for tech firms to pay new fees based on bandwidth issues. Continue reading Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Google and Amazon have struck a deal to end simmering hostilities over a battle for control of smart TVs. After a particularly damning report by the Competition Commission of India last week, Amazon announced that TCL — a major player in the drama — will this fall release in Europe two new models equipped with Amazon Fire TV software. The new pax has also paved the way for Amazon to work with consumer electronics companies including Hisense, Xiaomi, and more, who were previously forbidden from using the Amazon OS under Google’s licensing terms. Continue reading Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

Apple announced various App Store developer updates last week, and one change getting lots of attention is that which specifies “sales of ‘boosts’ for posts in a social media app must use in-app purchase.” That means Apple will be taking its customary 30 percent fee for paid boosts on iOS devices, a move that will primarily affect Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram, since they hadn’t previously been processing such transactions through Apple’s in-app purchase system, like Twitter and Tiktok have. Apple says its “guidelines have been clear” that in-app sales are required to use its In-App Purchase. Continue reading Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Microsoft is reportedly building an Xbox mobile store, challenging Apple and Google. The Redmond company’s pending Activision Blizzard deal is key to successful implementation of its mobile gaming strategy, which was previously hinted at and now comes to light in a filing with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which requested additional information from Microsoft as part of its analysis of the $68.7 billion deal. In its filings, Microsoft says a “next generation” game store that “operates across a range of devices, including mobile” is significant impetus for the acquisition. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Meta Says It Will Sell Giphy per UK Competition Unit’s Order

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has rendered a final decision ordering Meta Platforms to sell its Giphy marketplace for animated GIFs. Meta acquired the U.S.-based Giphy in 2020. The CMA subsequently found the purchase anticompetitive, determining the move would stunt innovation in UK display advertising and limit social media choices for consumers. After Meta failed to decisively win an appeal, the matter went back to the CMA, which this week reaffirmed its earlier decision and ordered Giphy sold. Meta said in a statement it is “disappointed by the CMA’s decision,” but won’t pursue further appeal. Continue reading Meta Says It Will Sell Giphy per UK Competition Unit’s Order

Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Adobe announced it plans to purchase rival digital design suite Figma for $20 billion in cash and stock. The news was disclosed as part of its Q3 earnings report, which saw revenue of $4.43 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Despite the healthy cashflow, Adobe says it may have to finance part of the deal, which will have to clear regulatory hurdles in a very pro-competition environment. Founded in 2011, Figma released its first product in 2015, leveraging the WebGL API to create real-time collaborative tools for web-based design teams “working together beyond company walls.” Figma lists Airbnb, Conde Nast and Github among its users. Continue reading Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Continue reading California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

This past year, Big Tech has invested more than $95 million in lobbying initiatives designed to kill the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which seeks to rebalance the power between consumers and major technology companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Meta Platforms. In two years, the bill has advanced further than any similar U.S. legislative effort, but time is running out before midterm elections and the unknown of a potential shift in control of the House and/or Senate. Supporters of the measure say they currently have the votes needed for passage. Continue reading Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

Congress Leaves Key Tech Legislation on Table Over Recess

After a big victory passing CHIPS-plus, Congress recessed on Saturday with several technology goals pending. Among the outstanding items is a bipartisan antitrust bill that seeks to rein in the industry’s heavyweight players, a consumer privacy bill and confirmation of Gigi Sohn, a Biden administration nominee to the FCC, where net neutrality hangs in the balance. Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has promised to fast track those votes immediately upon return September 6, the clock is winding down as November’s midterm elections may push Democrats out of power in one or both houses. Continue reading Congress Leaves Key Tech Legislation on Table Over Recess

How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

The nation’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House, was in federal court this week to defend itself against the Justice Department, which filed an antitrust lawsuit to block its acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The DOJ has been increasingly focused on antitrust and is hiring more trial lawyers in preparation for an action against Alphabet’s Google for its dominance in search and digital advertising. Although ostensibly on trial for threatening to shrink the number of American mass-market publishers from five to four, the Penguin suit also involves examination of the retail power of Amazon. Continue reading How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

Gen Z Turning to TikTok and Instagram for Search and News

TikTok is at the center of yet another attention-grabbing trend: Gen Z has begun using it as a search engine, edging out Google. TikTok says a third of its billion or so global users are Gen Z, and these 10-to-25-year-olds are now using the short-form video platform for more than just entertainment and are increasingly turning to it as a source of information. Meta Platforms’ Instagram is also making a strong showing among information seekers in Gen Z — an important demographic among advertisers, as they are still forming brand loyalties and shopping habits. Continue reading Gen Z Turning to TikTok and Instagram for Search and News

Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Google is delaying plans to phase out third-party ad tracking cookies on its Chrome browser until late 2024. The move will have broad ramifications as to how ads are targeted on websites. The Alphabet unit has been working under its Privacy Sandbox initiative since 2019 to find less intrusive alternatives to cookie-tracking technology. Google has been working with developers, publishers, marketers, regulators and advertisers to test its cookie alternative, and says feedback indicates more time is needed to test and evaluate the Privacy Sandbox before it’s phased-in to Chrome worldwide. Continue reading Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Meta Platforms’ revenue dropped 1 percent in the second quarter, totaling $28.8 billion, just missing Wall Street’s expectation. It was the first year-over-year revenue drop since the company went public 10 years ago. Meta logged $6.69 billion in Q2 profit, down 36 percent over the same period in 2021. Costs increased by 22 percent, largely due to ongoing heavy investment in the metaverse, where the company’s ambitions took a hit Wednesday when the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to prevent Meta from buying Los Angeles-based virtual reality firm Within. Continue reading Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within