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Apple offers small concession in easing App Store rules for Netflix, others – Reuters

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SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) further loosened App Store rules on Wednesday, allowing some content companies like Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) to provide links to their websites so customers can sign up for paid accounts.

The concession was part of a settlement with Japan’s anti-trust regulator, which said the change was enough for it to close a five-year investigation into Apple that focused on video and music apps but did not consider games.

Also read: Exclusive – Apple hit with antitrust case in India over in-app payments issues

The U.S. tech giant, however, must still contend with a raft of other legal and regulatory challenges to rules it forces game makers to follow, including a closely watched antitrust lawsuit brought by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games.

The ban on providing separate links was lifted for so-called reader apps which provide content such as e-books, video and music that don’t offer a free tier of service, instead requiring payment at sign-up.

The change is set to take effect early next year and will be applied globally, said Apple, which will retain ultimate say over which apps qualify as reader apps.

Some companies said the concession was not enough.

“A limited anti-steering fix does not solve all our issues,” Spotify Technology (SPOT.N) said in a statement. The music streaming company is pursuing an antitrust complaint against Apple with European Union competition authorities.

Apple’s App Store forms the core of its $53.8 billion services segment, and it collects commissions between 15% and 30% from in-app purchases.

Its rules for game makers have been among its most contentious, particularly the practice that Epic Games is contesting of not allowing developers to take other forms of payment inside apps.

That case may determine whether Apple can retain control over what apps appear on its devices and whether it is allowed to charge commissions to developers.

Responding to Apple’s latest announcement on its App Store, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney accused Apple of trying to appease with insufficient piecemeal measures.

“Apple should open up iOS on the basis of hardware, stores, payments, and services each competing individually on their merits. Instead, they’re running a literally day-by-day recalculation of divide-and-conquer in hopes of getting away with most of their tying practices,” he said on Twitter.

An official with Japan’s Fair Trade Commission stressed that the scope of its investigation did not cover games.

“There is a possibility of there being an investigation into games too,” he told a media briefing.

Apple has a 46.5% share of Japan’s smartphone market in which more than 30 million are sold annually.

The iPhone maker’s latest concession is the second in as many weeks. It reached a deal last week with a group of developers in the United States in a class-action lawsuit, ending a ban on them telling users in email messages about payment alternatives.

In one of its latest challenges, South Korea on Tuesday banned major app store operators including Apple from forcing developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commissions on in-app purchases.

The company is facing similar legislative action in the United States and Europe.

It is also facing a new similar antitrust challenge in India that has been brought by a non-profit group, according to a source and documents seen by Reuters.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Peter Cooney and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Apple Card, Apple Pay, and iUP all fail on iPhone 13 pre-order day, exposing fragility of Apple's expansion into credit and payment services – eMarketer

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The news: iPhone 13 pre-orders went live early Friday morning. But buyers’ initial buzz of excitement at securing Apple’s latest smartphone was quickly replaced by frustration as those paying with Apple Pay, Apple Card, or using the iPhone Upgrade Program faced errors that stalled the checkout process, per 9to5Mac.

The problem: Customers using Apple’s own payments, credit, and iPhone upgrade services faced major issues that left many unable to complete their iPhone 13 purchases. Citizens One, Apple’s partner bank for the iPhone Upgrade Program, was also plagued with a variety of issues once preorders went live. Even buyers that were pre-approved for the yearly upgrade found their applications rejected by the website and Apple Store app.

  • Apple Pay in the Apple Store app and via the Apple Store website was also buggy— many users were unable to check out using their Apple Pay and had to enter their card details manually.
  • The Apple Card processing system went down with a variety of bugs. Users were unable to pay for their iPhone 13s using Apple Card—but other cards worked, which means Apple Card users missed out on the 3% Daily Cash incentive, a major feature of the service. 
  • Frustrated iPhone buyers opted to use other payment options like higher-interest credit cards or PayPal just to get an order in. Those that managed to get through later saw delivery dates pushed past mid-October.

What’s next: While new iPhone pre-order days are usually a big payday for Apple, the iPhone 13’s modest updates—as well as indications that only 10% of users plan to upgrade to the latest models—could result in an equally modest yield that may be further reduced by Apple’s pre-order fiasco. 

  • The collapse of its multiple payment and upgrade options on such a key day isn’t likely to show down iPhone 13 demand or sales, but its numerous frustrated customers could reflect poorly on Apple’s reputation.
  • Consumers’ difficulties in obtaining iPhone 13 orders using Apple’s own credit card, payments, and upgrade programs underscores the fragility of companies overextending their reach into complicated new segments like financial services. 

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What Happens Next With Oppo And OnePlus – Forbes

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OnePlus has laid out its new direction today, with further details on the integration of OnePlus and Oppo. This is the latest in a series of announcements following the news that OnePlus would be taken under the wing of sister company Oppo,

At the time this was seen as OnePlus and Oppo moving closer together to explicitly share resources behind the scenes with Oppo becoming the more dominant partner overall, while OnePlus’s customer facing activities would remain independent.

A few weeks after that announcement, OnePlus followed up with news that the two Android-based operating systems of the two companies, ColorOS and OxygenOS – would be merging much of the codebase while presenting the two different variants to their customers base; so OxygenOS remains for global devices and ColorOS for Chinese devices.

Today, OnePlus’ Co-founder Pete Lau has detailed the next step in the partnership with Oppo. Brandon it OnePlus 2.0, it reinforces the integration of ColorOS and OxygenOS, as well as keeping the distinctiveness between the forward facing parts. From a resources point of view, the benefits of having more commonality should be obvious while keeping granularity for the users. 

Lau has also presented a broad strokes timetable for the switchover. The new combined OS will launch in a OnePlus device with the 2022 flagship… i’d assume that is going to be the OnePlus 10 Pro, although there is an opportunity here to introduce a new brand name for the top end devices. Following that, the new OS will roll out across the OnePlus global devices along with 2022’s major Android upgrade.

How this will fit with the increased use of regional brands such as the OnePlus R handsets in India and the OnePlus Nord handsets in Europe remains to be seen. 

What can be seen is the OnePlus team keeping its community up to date with the changes. While its too early to go into precise details on the availability of upgrades (at least in public), the roadmap has been brought into focus a little bit more today.

Now read my review on OnePlus’ latest earbuds, the active noise cancelling OnePlus Buds Pro…

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M1 brings new iPhone 13 lineup, iPad models to Singapore – Telecompaper EN

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Singapore operator M1 has announced it will offer the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 mini, iPad (9th generation) and iPad mini on the local market. M1 customers can now pre-order the iPhone 13 lineup, as well as the iPad mini and iPad. The devices will be commercially available starting 24 September.

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