Epic Games and Apple were engaged in a legal battle since last August after the former sued the latter for its anti-competitive and monopolistic practices, and Apple has emerged as the winner of the case after the United States District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers handed a 185-page ruling on the lawsuit.
The legal battle between the two companies started last year after Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from its App Store, citing violation of its policies as the reason since the video game publisher by-passed the Cupertino-based tech giant’s in-app payments platform by introducing an alternative, direct payment method inside the game. This allowed Epic Games to avoid paying a 30% commission to Apple on all in-app purchases.
Epic sued Apple after Fortnite’s removal from the App Store, claiming the tech giant’s actions were monopolistic and violated the US antitrust law. Those claims have been quashed, though, as Judge Rogers said that “Given the trial record, the Court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws.”
“While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct. Success is not illegal. The final trial record did not include evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry and conduct decreasing output or decreasing innovation in the relevant market. The Court does not find that it is impossible; only that Epic Games failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist,” Judge Rogers further added.
The Judge also ordered Epic Games to pay Apple 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue it collected through the direct payment system it introduced on Fortnite for iOS between August 2020 and October 2020, and 30% of any revenue it collected from November 1, 2020 through the date of judgment. Besides, Judge Rogers ruled that Apple’s termination of DPLA with Epic Games was “valid, lawful, and enforceable.” That means it’s up to Apple to decide whether or not to reinstate Epic Games’ developer account on the App Store.
While the Court ruled in Apple’s favor, it’s not a complete victory for the tech giant as the Court did conclude that “Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice. When coupled with Apple’s incipient antitrust violations, these anti-steering provisions are anticompetitive and a nationwide remedy to eliminate those provisions is warranted.”
The Court also noted that the iPhone-maker’s “anti-steering restrictions artificially increase Apple’s market power by preventing developers from communicating about lower prices on other platforms.”
Besides, Judge Rogers issued a permanent injunction, preventing Apple from forbidding developers from introducing direct payment methods and including external links and other calls to action inside their apps.
In response to the Court’s ruling, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO and Founder, said that the “ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers” and Fortnite will return to the App Store when Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
Thanks to everyone who put so much time and effort into the battle over fair competition on digital platforms, and thanks especially to the court for managing a very complex case on a speedy timeline. We will fight on.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
Alberta doctors raise alarm on specialist staff shortages in intensive care wards – Saanich News
The Alberta Medical Association says the province’s high COVID-19 numbers are behind a desperate shortage of specialized staff to care for critical care patients.
“The demand for (intensive care unit) nurses is currently so high that we need to increase the number of patients assigned to each nurse,” the medical association said in a public letter Monday.
“This reduction in staffing ratio is well below our normal standard of care. This will jeopardize the quality of ICU care that we are able to provide.”
The letter was signed by members of the group’s intensive care section.
Alberta’s hospitals and intensive care wards are overwhelmed by critical care patients, most of them stricken with COVID-19. The overwhelming majority are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Alberta Health Services has been briefing doctors on criteria to use should the health system collapse and they have to make on-the-spot decisions on who gets life-saving care.
Last week, Dr. Paul Parks, the medical association’s head of emergency medicine, said the staffing shortage is affecting care in other ways. Parks said some critical care patients are not being put on available ventilators because there aren’t enough nurses to monitor them.
Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says while typical ICU care is one nurse per patient, an alternative model, known as a hub, is being used to adapt to the pandemic while ensuring care is delivered.
Each hub includes one or two trained intensive care nurses and two to four registered nurses.
“This model partners registered nurses from other areas with existing trained ICU (nurses) to expand the availability of the critical-care nursing skill set to more patients,” said Williamson in an email.
“ICU patients are never cared for by nurses alone. Whole teams work with nurses in ICU, including respiratory therapists and many others. “
In recent weeks, the province has scrambled to create more ad hoc intensive care beds, effectively more than doubling the normal total of 173 to accommodate 312 patients currently receiving critical care.
Staff have been reassigned, forcing mass cancellations of surgeries, including cancer procedures.
Alberta has asked the federal government for help, and the Canadian Armed Forces has said it will respond with eight more intensive care nurses and air transport to take critically ill patients to other provinces.
Almost two weeks ago, Alberta reintroduced gathering restrictions and brought in proof of vaccination requirements for entry to restaurants, bars, casinos, concerts and gyms to try to reduce spread of the virus.
Daily case counts remain well over one thousand and a growing number of doctors and infectious disease specialists are calling for a “firebreak” lockdown, which would include a shutdown of schools, businesses and other activities.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in a weekend radio interview, rejected a lockdown. He said it would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated” and who are much less likely to transmit the disease and be hospitalized.
Alberta has lagged behind other provinces in vaccination. Kenney and his United Conservative government have been trying to persuade more people to get their shots by offering $1-million prize draws, other gifts and, more recently, $100 debit cards.
About 73 per cent of eligible Albertans, those 12 and over, are fully vaccinated, while 82 per cent have had at least one shot.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it’s time to partner with community groups and health-care professionals to go door to door and help those who are not vaccinated due to health or work concerns or a language barrier.
Those groups could be “having conversations and offering Alberta vaccines right there on people’s doorsteps,” Notley said in Calgary.
—Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Face ID stops working on iPhone 13 after any third-party screen replacements – XDA Developers
Apple just released the iPhone 13 series earlier this month, with four models to choose from: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The phones are a step up from previous models, with smoother displays and enhanced cameras, but the iPhone 13 series appears to be a downgrade from earlier iPhones in at least one regard — Face ID will stop working after anyone except Apple (or an Apple-authorized repair center) replaces your screen.
The below video from Phone Repair Guru (via MacRumors) shows the displays on two iPhone 13 phones being swapped. Even though the displays are genuine Apple parts, and the screen assembly doesn’t contain any components directly related to Face ID, the result is that Face ID no longer works.
It’s not clear at the moment if this is a software bug, or yet another measure against unauthorized iPhone repairs. Apple has become increasingly hostile to third-party repairs over the past few years. Apple has its own Independent iPhone Repair Program, which provides select companies or third-party repair centers with genuine Apple parts and repair manuals. However, an iFixit report from last year pointed out that it can take several months for repair centers to join the program, and Apple often sells parts to repair centers for high prices. In some cases, the cost for parts exceed what Apple would charge to perform the entire repair.
Apple has not yet published a statement about Face ID and third-party repairs. If Face ID is intended to break, it would likely only give more momentum to the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, which has pushed governments around the world to force electronics manufacturers to make replacement parts and repair manuals readily available. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July that called for the FTC to establish guidelines for device repairs, and other countries around the world are in various stages of crafting similar legislation.
Signal, the encrypted messaging app, is currently down for many users (Update: it's back) – Yahoo Canada Shine On
Update 2: Signal is now back up for “99% of users,” according to its Twitter account.
Update: In a tweet, Signal said the disruption is due to a hosting outage.
Signal is down for many users right now. Its status website says the encrypted messaging app is “experiencing technical difficulties” and many people are getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. The company says it is “working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.” TechCrunch has contacted Signal for comment.
Signal’s in-app error message
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time this evening, and it appears to be affecting people around the world.
Over the past few months, Signal has continued to build out its feature set, adding a default timer for disappearing messages that automatically applies the settings to all new conversations.
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