Global Smartphone Industry Feeling Impact of Chip Shortage

The smartphone industry is finally feeling the impact of the semiconductor shortage that has bedeviled the auto, PC and home appliance industries. Samsung Electronics, for example, expects a 20 percent drop in shipments from last quarter, due to problems sourcing key parts. Google’s Pixel 5a 5G device will only be available in the U.S. and Japan, even though last year’s models were given a wider release. China’s Xiaomi, which recently surpassed Apple to capture the No. 2 spot in global shipments, has raised the price of its flagship India device, the Redmi Note 10, to $174 from $161.  Continue reading Global Smartphone Industry Feeling Impact of Chip Shortage

Media Consortium Reveals Extent of Pegasus Spyware Reach

A consortium of media outlets dubbed the Pegasus Project found that Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group licensed its military-grade spyware Pegasus to governments that used it to hack 37 smartphones of business executives, human rights activists and journalists. Two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khasghoggi were also reportedly targeted. Amnesty International and journalism non-profit Forbidden Stories shared a list of 50,000 phone numbers that dates to 2016 and included the 37 targets. New evidence also suggests that thousands of iPhones worldwide may have been compromised.  Continue reading Media Consortium Reveals Extent of Pegasus Spyware Reach

Senate Judiciary Committee Pursues New Antitrust Legislation

Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working together on antitrust legislation similar to some of the measures the House Judiciary Committee approved last month. Grassley has yet to offer specific details of proposed legislation but Klobuchar, who is chair of the judiciary panel’s antitrust subcommittee, said a focus on tech companies that offer their own version of products sold by rivals dependent on their platforms is “at the heart of two of the House proposals.” Continue reading Senate Judiciary Committee Pursues New Antitrust Legislation

Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

Alphabet conducted internal research that found Google software engineers felt as productive working from home as before the pandemic, although 75 percent of employees said they wanted more “collaboration and social connections” at work. Human resources vice president Brian Welle reported that “most staff also specifically craved physical proximity when working on new projects.” As a result, Alphabet still plans to bring employees back to the office this fall, although some will be able to work full-time from home. Continue reading Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

As part of its plan to expand into gaming, video streamer Netflix has hired former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development. At Facebook, Verdu worked with developers to bring virtual reality games and other content to Oculus headsets. At Netflix, Verdu will report to chief operating officer Greg Peters and is mandated with bringing video games to the Netflix platform within the next year. Sources said that Netflix does not plan on charging subscribers extra for gaming content. Continue reading New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

According to Branch, which analyzes mobile app growth and tracks ad conversions, since Apple’s updated iOS asked users if they wanted to be tracked by apps, only 25 percent have agreed. That response has “been pretty devastating for … the majority of advertisers,” suggests mobile analyst Eric Seufert. Advertisers on social network Facebook have seen a particularly strong impact, according to media buyers who noted that not being able to reliably determine how many sales clients are making means it is challenging to figure out which ads are working. Continue reading Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

Shopify Cuts App Store Fees and Introduces Online Store 2.0

Amazon rival Shopify, which hosts online stores, announced it would no longer take a cut of the first $1 million that a developer makes on its app store. This follows similar moves by Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft that reduce app store fees for some developers, as the Big Tech companies are scrutinized by regulators and lawmakers over potential anticompetitive behavior. From August 1, developers on Shopify will keep 100 percent of their revenue from their first $1 million; the company said the benchmark will “reset” each year. Continue reading Shopify Cuts App Store Fees and Introduces Online Store 2.0

Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Alphabet’s Google is being sued by a group of 36 states and the District of Columbia that claim the Big Tech company abuses its market dominance with the Google Play Store. Although it is the fourth such state or federal antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, this lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the first to take aim directly at the tech giant’s app store. The other suits have focused on search and advertising. California, Utah, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee lead this suit. Continue reading Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Since Apple began requiring apps to get user permission to track them, Branch Metrics found that less than 33 percent of iOS users opted in. Ad prices aimed at iOS users have fallen and those aimed at Android users have risen, which the digital ad community warned Apple about. Now, ad buyers are deploying iOS ad spending in less targeted ways and the lack of user data also reduces the efficacy of Facebook’s ad-targeting tools. Apple only sells ads in a few of its apps and doesn’t take a cut of third-party iOS app revenue. Continue reading Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

The five-year truce between Google and Microsoft has broken down. Sources say that neither company is interested in renewing the former alliance. Microsoft wants marketers to have equal access to search engines when they build campaigns with Google technology, but Google believes that, in fact, Microsoft sees it as a threat to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing and Office productivity businesses. Both companies are now “handing ammo” against each other to regulators, a strategy that might backfire on both of them. Continue reading Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

Apple Unveils Downtown Los Angeles Store in Historic Cinema

Apple just opened a new Apple Store in a 94-year-old former landmark movie theater in downtown Los Angeles. The company completed a lavish restoration of the 1927 Tower Theatre, located below 8th and Broadway. Hundreds of Apple fans awaited the opening and many of them met chief executive Tim Cook at the door. Other celebrities at the opening included filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass, singer and producer Finneas, and actor and comedian Paul Scheer. The previous day, historic preservationists were invited to tour the building. Continue reading Apple Unveils Downtown Los Angeles Store in Historic Cinema

Chip Shortage Continues to Have an Impact Across Industries

Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger revealed it may take two years to ramp up chip production, while Advanced Micro Devices chief executive Lisa Su noted that her company is prioritizing high-end chips found in a PlayStation 5 game console or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card over “lower-powered parts.” The auto manufacturing sector has been hit hard by the semiconductor shortage — with some indicating no end in sight. At John Deere, chief technology officer Jahmy Hindman said that he expects “we’re into this for the next 12 to 18 months.”  Continue reading Chip Shortage Continues to Have an Impact Across Industries

Google Reduces Developer Fees via Its Play Media Experience

Google has unveiled the Play Media Experience Program, offering app developers “additional discovery and engagement opportunities across devices” and a “service fee of 15 percent for all applicable earnings.” The company said the program is the global expansion of a previous invite-only program that it had never publicly revealed. Amazon and Apple apparently had similar programs that they’ve expanded, but Google’s program is distinct in that it asks developers to support Google TV, Wear OS, Android Auto and its other platforms. Continue reading Google Reduces Developer Fees via Its Play Media Experience

Google Slows Down Plan to Replace Cookies Until Late 2023

After announcing that it planned to end third-party cookies for its Chrome Internet browser in early 2022, Google advanced the date to late 2023 in response to pushback from advertisers, privacy advocates and regulators. The company said the delay of almost two years will allow more time for these groups to adapt to new technologies it’s developing that will continue to allow targeted advertising. The issue highlights the tension between the $455 billion online advertising world and Big Tech’s attempts to add more privacy. Continue reading Google Slows Down Plan to Replace Cookies Until Late 2023

House Judiciary Committee Approves Plans to Rein in Big Tech

Despite significant lobbying efforts by technology companies, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, the final of six bills proposed to restrict Big Tech’s dominance. The Committee also approved the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, which would ban Big Tech from advantaging their own products, disadvantaging rivals or discriminating between “similarly situated” business users and another bill that would require them to make it easier for users to transport their data to other platforms. The bills still must be approved by the House and Senate to become law. Continue reading House Judiciary Committee Approves Plans to Rein in Big Tech

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