(Bloomberg Opinion) — What was once sacrosanct is no more. Apple Inc. seems to have blinked.
Late Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported that Apple has relaxed its rules requiring a 30% cut for any content sold inside video apps on its iOS platform. The tech giant said its program allows “premium subscription video” providers the ability to charge consumers directly using their own payment systems without paying a commission to Apple.
For customers of Amazon.com Inc., which started taking advantage of the change on Wednesday, it means Amazon’s Prime Video subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, can now buy or rent video content using the e-commerce company’s app on Apple’s platforms. Amazon.com Inc. had previously only allowed video purchases outside of Apple’s ecosystem, such as its website. Canal+, owned by Vivendi SA, and Altice USA Inc.’s Altice One had already joined Apple’s program in recent years.As recently as last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CBS News the company didn’t have a dominant position in any market. But analysts have said Apple’s App Store may be the one business where it actually had excessive power over developers, because of the steep commission it was able to demand in exchange for allowing their apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions to be sold on its platforms. (The 30% subscription fee is lowered to 15% after the first year.)
The Apple App Store’s high commission structure has been infuriating for many companies. In 2019, music-streaming company Spotify Technology SA filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, while Epic Games Inc. CEO Tim Sweeney, whose company makes Fortnite, has consistently railed against Apple’s commission structure as unjustified. Netflix Inc. even abandoned using Apple’s payment system altogether to avoid the fee in 2018.Why did Apple budge? Perhaps it’s a move to preempt further pressure from regulators. Whatever the reason, once the first step is made toward lower fees, there is no turning back.
It’s only a matter time before other companies such as Netflix, Spotify and countless others ask for better terms as well. Lower middle-man fees can also be good news for consumers if it leads to lower prices, too.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron’s, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.
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Now you can buy puzzles of Toronto businesses – NOW Magazine
In Toronto, puzzles have become an increasingly popular pandemic pastime. Seemingly endless time indoors means we’re all partying like it’s 1799, with local gift and game shops having a hard time keeping puzzles in stock.
A new Toronto startup wants to combine our newly-minted jones for jigsaws with the opportunity to help out struggling small businesses. PieceTogether is a new project that creates jigsaw puzzles featuring images of beloved local businesses – and gives $15 from every $35 sale directly back to the business.
“Even as restrictions ease many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss, it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” said co-founder Rich Pauptit in a release. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down.”
By buying a puzzle, he adds, “you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses.”
Among the first wave of puzzles available for purchase: The Cameron House’s iconic exterior, the leafy cocktail bar Reyna, a cool bottle of beer from Shacklands, and a bird’s eye view of Stackt, with even more on the way. Check out the full lineup here.
Google Silently Releases Android Auto in More Countries – autoevolution
But more recently, users in a couple of new countries have been provided with the official Android Auto listing the Google Play Store, including here those in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Users who turned to reddit to confirm that Android Auto is now live in these two countries explain that they can “update it legitimately,” as seen in the screenshot here.
Others based the same countries, however, claim Android Auto isn’t available in the Google Play Store on their devices, so the app either rolls out in stages to these users or the Play Store updates are actually the result of the app originally being installed with the APK file.
In other words, if Android Auto is deployed using the dedicated APK installer, then updates are automatically served through the Google Play Store, and this is why some might be tempted to believe the app is now officially supported in their country.
But one user in the Netherlands says this isn’t the case, as updates through the Google Play Store weren’t possible before.
“I couldn’t update it through the store prior tot this, even with android 10. So I had to keep reinstalling through apk. Android auto seem to work different for a lot of people though. On my s9 plus it won’t show up in the store, even if I reinstall it on this phone (s10+)it will still show up in the store. On my phone it’s not a system app though,” one user explains.
Google is yet to officially announce the availability of Android Auto in more countries, so our only option is to actually wait until a confirmation on this is offered. Until then, a healthy dose of skepticism is definitely recommended.
Distributel Permanently Waives Data Overage Charges on all Internet Plans – Canada NewsWire
Company responds to the evolving needs of its customers
TORONTO, May 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Distributel Communications Limited is proud to announce that we have eliminated internet overage charges permanently on all current plans for our customers. In March, we communicated that we would temporarily waive these fees to support the large number of customers whose families are working and learning from home. Today’s decision reflects our customers’ changing needs and furthers our commitment to doing what’s right for Canadians.
“Our customers’ satisfaction is extremely important to us. They told us that they truly appreciated having data caps removed and that it made a real difference for them,” said Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel. “We thought about extending the program past the initial three months, but we quickly realized that customers’ needs have changed for the long term. The right thing to do was to eliminate these charges permanently. The internet has become such an essential part of our lives, that we want to make sure our customers can stay connected without ever worrying about additional charges.”
We listen to our customers and continue to respond to their evolving needs. This change is effective immediately across all capped plans, and no further customer action is required.
This is a time of change for everyone – our customers, our employees, and our partners. Our business continuity plans and practices have allowed us to continue supporting Canadians throughout this period. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of our employees, customers, vendors and partners—all of whom continue to be there for one another.
“We’re all still adapting to this new world, and it’s clear that even as pandemic restrictions begin to lift, there are going to be long-term changes to how we work, learn and live,” said Stein. “Today more than ever, the internet enables many of the things we value most: keeping loved ones close, learning and developing, interacting with customers and colleagues, and recharging at the end of the day. We’re very proud that we can play such an important role in Canadians’ lives.”
Established in 1988, Distributel is a leading national, independent telecommunications provider offering a wide range of business and residential communications services. 100% Canadian-owned, with offices across the country and a national network, Distributel continues to forge new partnerships and bring innovative solutions to market directly and through a thriving wholesale division. ThinkTel, the Business Services Division of Distributel, is a provider of advanced voice and data services for the SMB and Enterprise markets throughout Canada. TV services provided through TotalTV Inc., an IPTV service provider that operates in Ontario and Quebec. As a top Microsoft Solutions Partner and a Cisco PMP, the Business Services division is focused on driving industry innovation. For more information, visit: www.distributel.ca.
SOURCE Distributel Communications Limited
For further information: Aby Bueno, Broad Reach Communications, T: 416-858-3135, E: [email protected]
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