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Elon Musk Chastises Apple for 30% App Store Fees

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Elon Musk Chastises Apple for 30% App Store Fees

Elon Musk slammed Apple in a series of tweets o Twitter on Monday over its 30% App Store fees, providing Spotify and Epic Games with a powerful ally in their battle against the tech giant.

Elon Musk chastised Apple for charging software developers a fee for in-app purchases and posted a meme implying he was willing to “go to war” rather than pay the levy.

Musk also claimed that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from its app store, though he did not elaborate.

Spotify has filed antitrust complaints against Apple in Europe, and Epic Games planned to sue Apple in the United States in 2020.

Musk, who purchased Twitter last month, has announced plans to charge users $8 per month to become verified on the social media platform to increase profitability and avoid bankruptcy. A 30% reduction would be a significant blow to those plans.

After Spotify filed an antitrust case against Apple in 2019, the European Commission has been investigating whether Apple’s rules for app developers violate its rules.

If found guilty of violating EU antitrust rules, Apple faces a fine of up to 10% of its global revenue.

Apple is “playing a dangerous game,” according to Luke Suddards, an analyst at investment insights firm Finimize, by threatening to remove Twitter from its App Store.

“If Twitter is suspended, another lawsuit could be filed. Elon Musk used the courts effectively during his Twitter acquisition, and it would not be surprising if he used the same strategy now.”

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Apple vs. Epic Games

Epic Games asked a three-judge U.S. federal appeals panel earlier this month to overturn portions of a lower court antitrust ruling that favored Apple and its App Store payment business.

Apple previously stated that the commissions it receives help it fund app reviews to ensure consumers are not exposed to fraudulent, pornographic, or privacy-invading apps.

“Apple continues to disadvantage competitors, with significant consequences for consumers, app developers, and, most recently, authors and publishers. Nothing will change unless policymakers take action. “Last month, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek posted on Twitter.

Musk, who was in the process of purchasing Twitter at the time, responded to Ek’s post with “concerning.”

However, some analysts are concerned that going to war with Apple will drive more users away from Twitter.

“While Musk seeks to rekindle the ongoing feud between Apple and developers, all of this negativity will drive Twitter users away,” said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst with PP Foresight.

“People are not going to abandon their iPhones… They are used to signing up for various social services but only use one phone at a time, “He stated.

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Apple threat to yank Twitter from App Store

In a series of tweets on Monday, Elon Musk accused Apple of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without explaining why. He also claimed that the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on social media.

The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla claimed that Apple was putting pressure on Twitter over content moderation requirements.

Apple has not confirmed the action, but it would not be unusual given that the company has routinely enforced its rules and previously removed apps such as Gab and Parler.

Apple restored Parler, popular among US conservatives, in 2021 after the app updated its content and moderation practices, the companies said at the time.

“Apple has largely discontinued advertising on Twitter. Do Americans despise free speech? “Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion last month, stated in a tweet.

In a subsequent tweet, he tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Twitter account, asking, “what’s going on here?”

Apple did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

“It wasn’t clear to me how far up the Apple food chain that idea went internally,” Randal Picker, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said.

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Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter.

According to ad measurement firm Pathmatics, the world’s most valuable company spent an estimated $131,600 on Twitter ads between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, down from $220,800 between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal.

According to an internal Twitter document, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter in the first quarter of 2022, spending $48 million and accounting for more than 4% of total revenue for the period.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report from Reuters.

The up to 30% fee Apple charges software developers for in-app purchases was among Musk’s list of grievances, with Musk posting a meme suggesting he was willing to “go to war” with Apple rather than pay the commission.

The fee has drawn criticism and lawsuits from companies such as Epic Games, the creators of ‘Fortnite,’ as well as the attention of regulators worldwide.

The commission may consider Musk’s efforts to increase subscription revenue at Twitter, partly to compensate for the exodus of advertisers due to content moderation concerns.

Since the acquisition, companies ranging from General Mills Inc (GIS.N) to luxury automaker Audi of America have stopped or paused advertising on Twitter, and Musk stated earlier this month that the company had seen a “massive” drop in revenue.

Ad sales generate roughly 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

The self-described free speech absolutist, whose company has reinstated several Twitter accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump, in recent days, has blamed activist groups for putting pressure on advertisers.

According to Ben Bajarin, the head of consumer technologies at research firm Creative Strategies, Musk may be reading too much into a routine process Apple uses for app review.

“App review from Apple is not perfect by any means, and it is a consistently frustrating process for developers,” he said. “However, from what I hear, it is a two-way conversation.”

Elon Musk to Grants Amnesty to Suspended Accounts

Twitter to Grant “Amnesty” to Suspended Accounts

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PayPal To Cut 2,000 Jobs In Latest Tech Company Cost-Cutting

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(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — PayPal said Tuesday that it will cut about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time employees, as it deals with what it calls a “challenging macroeconomic environment.”

PayPal said the cuts would be phased in over several weeks, with some organizations suffering more than others. The company did not elaborate. The is the parent company of several brands, including Venmo, Xoom, and Honey.

The San Jose, California-based company is the latest in the technology sector to reduce its workforce. Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce alone announced tens of thousands of layoffs in January.

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Paypal Is Resizing Its Cost Structure

Last summer, activist investor Elliott Management purchased a $2 billion stake in stock, which announced a “information-sharing agreement” with Elliott “to continue collaboration across a range of value-creation opportunities.”

“Over the past year, we made significant progress in strengthening and reshaping our company to address the challenging macroeconomic environment while continuing to invest to meet the needs of our customers,” PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have made significant progress in right-sizing our cost structure and focusing our resources on our core strategic priorities, but there is still work to be done.”

PayPal Holdings Inc. is set to report quarterly results on February 9.

The company’s stock is down about 53% in the last year. They gained 2.3% to close at $81.49 on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Boeing Bids Farewell To An Icon, Delivers Last 747 Jumbo Jet

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SEATTLE, Wash. — On Tuesday, Boeing said goodbye to an icon by delivering its final 747 jumbo jets in front of thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years.

The giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft since its first flight in 1969. It transformed travel by connecting previously unconnected international cities and democratizing passenger flight.

However, over the last 15 years, Boeing and its European rival Airbus have introduced more profitable and fuel-efficient widebody planes with only two engines to maintain, as opposed to the 747′s four. The final plane is the 1,574th built by Boeing in Washington state’s Puget Sound region.

Thousands of workers joined Boeing and other industry executives from around the world — as well as actor and pilot John Travolta, who has flown 747s — Tuesday for a ceremony Boeing marking the delivery of the last 747 to cargo carrier Atlas Air at the company’s massive factory north of Seattle.

“If you love this business, you’ve been dreading this moment,” said Richard Aboulafia, a longtime aviation analyst. “Nobody wants a four-engine airliner anymore, but that doesn’t diminish the aircraft’s enormous contribution to the development of the industry or its remarkable legacy.”

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More Than 50,000 Boeing Employees Worked On The Contract

After losing a massive military transport contract, the C-5A, Boeing set out to build the 747. The plan was to use the new engines developed for the transport — high-bypass turbofan engines that burned less fuel by passing air around the engine core, allowing for a longer flight range — for a newly imagined civilian aircraft.

More than 50,000 Boeing employees worked for less than 16 months to build the first 747, a Herculean effort that earned them the moniker “The Incredibles.” The construction of a massive factory in Everett, north of Seattle, required the construction of the world’s largest building by volume. The factory had yet to be finished when the first planes were completed.

Desi Evans, 92, was among those in attendance. He joined Boeing in 1957 at its factory in Renton, south of Seattle, and worked for the company for 38 years before retiring. His boss informed him in 1967 that he would join the 747 programs in Everett the following morning.

“They told me to wear rubber boots, a hard hat, and warm clothing because it’s a sea of mud,” Evans recalled. “And they were preparing for the factory’s construction.”

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State Of The Art Technology

As a supervisor, he was in charge of figuring out how the passenger cabins would be put together. He also oversaw the crews that worked on sealing and painting the planes.

“It was an incredible time when that very first 747 rolled out,” he said as he stood in front of the last plane parked outside the factory. “You felt ecstatic as if you were making history. You’re a part of something big, and it’s still big even if this is the final installment.”

The plane’s fuselage measured 225 feet (68.5 meters), and the tail was as tall as a six-story building. The plane’s design included a second deck very important extending from the cockpit back over the first third of the plane, giving it a distinctive hump and inspiring a nickname, the Whale. The 747 was dubbed the “Queen of the Skies” in a more romantic sense.

Some airlines converted the second deck into a first-class cocktail lounge, and even the lower deck featured lounges or even a piano bar on occasion. One decommissioned 747, built-in 1976 for Singapore Airlines, has been converted into a 33-room hotel near Stockholm’s airport.

“It was the first big carrier, the first widebody, so it set a new standard for airlines to figure out what to do with it and how to fill it,” said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation Boeing and mobility expert at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. “It became the essence of mass air travel: You couldn’t fill it with people paying full price, so you need to lower prices to get people onboard. It contributed to the deregulation of air travel that occurred in the late 1970s.”

The first 747 entered service on Pan Am’s New York-London route in 1970, and its timing was terrible, according to Aboulafia. It debuted shortly before the 1973 oil crisis, during a recession that saw Boeing’s employment fall from 100,800 in 1967 to 38,690 in April 1971. The infamous “Boeing bust” was commemorated by a billboard near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that read, “Will the last person leaving SEATTLE — Turn out the lights?”

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Delta Was The Last To Use 747 For Flights

The 747-400 series, an updated model, arrived in the late 1980s and had much better timing, coinciding with the Asian economic boom of the early 1990s, according to Aboulafia. He remembered flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific 747 as a twentysomething backpacker in 1991.

“Even people like me could travel to Asia,” Aboulafia explained. “Previously, you had to stop for fuel in Alaska or Hawaii, which was much more expensive. This was a no-brainer — and reasonably priced.”

Delta was the last U.S. airline to use the 747 for passenger flights, which ended in 2017, though some international carriers, including Lufthansa, continue to use it.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, recalled flying in a 747 as a young exchange student and said that when he realized he’d be traveling to the West Coast of the United States for the event on Tuesday, there was only one way to go: first-class in the nose of a Lufthansa 747 from Frankfurt to San Francisco. He assured the audience that Lufthansa would continue to fly the 747 for many years.

“We just adore the airplane,” he explained.

Atlas Air ordered four 747-8 freighters early last year, with the final one decorated with an image of Joe Sutter, the engineer who oversaw the original design team for the 747, arriving on Tuesday. Atlas CEO John Dietrich referred to the 747 as the greatest air freighter, owing to its unique ability to load through the nose cone.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Nokia 4Q profit beats expectations on back of robust demand

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HELSINKI, Finland — Nokia, a company that makes equipment for both wireless and fixed networks, reported strong results for the fourth quarter on Thursday. The company cited strong demand for 5G technology and an improved product portfolio.

The company, which is based in Espoo, Finland, made a net profit of 929 million euros ($1 billion) from October to December, which is 27% more than the 731 million euros it made in the same time period the year before.

The net income attributable to shareholders increased from 727 million euros the previous year to 931 million euros this year.

Nokia’s sales increased by 16% to 7.4 billion euros. During the quarter, the company’s performance exceeded analyst expectations.

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Another Year Of Growth For Nokia

CEO Pekka Lundmark said that the highlight of the fourth quarter was the “stellar” performance of the company’s network infrastructure business unit, which grew revenue by 14% “with significant operating margin expansion.”

Lundmark said that 2023 would be “another year of growth” for Nokia, but he added, “we are aware of the uncertain economic outlook.”

Nokia reported sales of 24.9 billion euros for the fiscal year 2022, up 12% from the previous year, with a net profit of 2.5 billion euros, up 18% year on year.

“We said at the beginning of 2022 that it would be a year of acceleration, and we delivered,” Lundmark said. “The Nokia team navigated geopolitical, economic, and supply challenges, put our strategy into action, and delivered a strong full-year performance.”

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The Latest Generation Of Broadband Technology

Nokia, along with Swedish company Ericsson, Chinese company Huawei, and South Korean company Samsung, is one of the world’s top suppliers of 5G, the latest generation of broadband technology.

Nokia announced earlier this week that it had signed a multi-year license patent agreement with Samsung, allowing the Korean company to use Nokia’s technology in its products in exchange for royalties.

Lundmark told reporters on Thursday that Nokia is almost done leaving the Russian market. This decision was made public after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The Finnish company criticized what Moscow did and said it would move its research and development out of Russia, where it employed a few thousand people. Nokia also announced that it would stop selling its equipment and software in the country.

“We are now at the final meters of implementing the exit program that was published in April,” Lundmark said. “We will not deliver anything there once we have left.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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