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WordPress claims Apple cut off updates to its completely free app because it wants 30 percent – The Verge

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WordPress, the iOS app, lets you build and manage a website right from your iPhone or iPad.

Separately, WordPress.com also happens to sell domain names.

Now, WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg is accusing Apple of cutting off the ability to update that app — until or unless he adds in-app purchases so the most valuable company in the world can extract its 30 percent cut of the money.

Here’s the thing: the WordPress app on iOS doesn’t sell anything. I just checked, and so did Stratechery’s Ben Thompson. The app simply lets you make a website for free. There isn’t even an option to buy a unique dot-com or even dot-blog domain name from the iPhone and iPad app — it simply assigns you a free WordPress domain name and 3GB of space.

Is Apple seriously asking for WordPress owner Automattic to share a cut of all its domain name revenue? How would it even know which customers used the app? Or was this all a mistake? Apple, Automattic, and Mullenweg didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

Mistake or no, it’s just the latest example of Apple’s fervent attempts to guard its cash cow resulting in a decision that doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t live up to Apple’s ethos (real or imagined) of putting the customer experience ahead of all else.

Mullenweg, of course, is only one of those speaking out publicly about the Apple tax and the company’s uneven enforcement of its rules. Yesterday, a group of major news publishers banded together to ask why Amazon, and not them, should get a sweetheart deal that allows the giant e-tailer to pay 15 percent instead of 30 percent for Prime Video. And all of this, of course, is happening in the shadow of Epic Games’ gigantic fight against Apple, one that Apple responded to this very afternoon, complete with a cache of emails from Epic’s own Tim Sweeney. You might want to give these links a look:

The WordPress iOS app was last updated on July 27th, according to the App Store on the web.

Update, 4:38 PM ET: We’re now seeing on iOS that the app was updated 20 hours ago, and asking WordPress what that means; whether it’s future updates that were cut off, or previous ones.

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The New War Against Developers: Google Is Also Enforcing Its In-App Purchasing Rules – Forbes

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Bloomberg reports that Google will reemphasize its in-app purchase policy with developers who list their apps on the Play Store. Google currently mandates that all services with in-app purchases use the Google Play Store’s billing services, a process which allows Google to keep about 30% of the revenue.

Google’s policy has been the same for years, but the company will reinforce it, as many developers are not following Google’s requirements. The reinforcement is not a welcome sign to developers, who are also fighting against Apple’s recent reinforcement of in-app purchasing rules.

A group of popular smartphone app publishers, including Spotify, Epic Games and Basecamp, have announced the creation of the “Coalition for App Fairness,” which hopes to more fair arrangements between app stores and publishers.

Bloomberg reported that Netflix, Spotify and Epic Games have been bypassing Google’s rules and have avoided paying Google fees. Currently, high-profile apps avoid fees by mandating that users sign up for services (and pay) through the app’s website, which avoids the need for in-app purchases.

The risk for Google is that Android’s open nature allows users to download third-party apps with relative ease, when compared to Apple’s closed app ecosystem. In fact, on some Android devices, there may be a third-party app store, operating completely without the guidance of Google. Some app developers may find a way to popularize a third-party app marketplace that can be loaded onto Android that may provide more fair terms for developers.

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Apple’s Battle Royale With Epic Games About to Start for Real – Bloomberg

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The legal fight between Apple Inc. and Epic Games Inc. kicks into full gear on Monday with decisions that will influence the future of app stores in the U.S. and how the world’s largest technology platforms make money from developers.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide whether to force Apple to let battle royale video game Fortnite back into the App Store with Epic’s in-house payment option. She will also rule if Apple can block third-party apps using Epic’s Unreal Engine development software.

Most legal experts expect the judge to extend her temporary injunction for Unreal Engine, but not reinstate Fortnite in the Apple App Store.

“Epic faces an uphill battle,” said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “Apple’s pricing policies are problematic, and antitrust law should probably do something about it. But courts are very reluctant to dictate who a company, even a monopolist, has to do business with.”

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Character actors from the Epic Games Inc. Fortnite video game dance during the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The decisions will have far-reaching consequences especially as authorities across the globe examine whether tech giants including Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have broken antitrust rules. On Monday, the judge will consider if Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claims and whether the company will suffer irreparable harm if she doesn’t issue an injunction.

At stake is Apple and Google’s ability to charge fees of up to 30% to developers using their app stores. Consumers spent $50 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020, according to Sensor Tower estimates. That generates billions of dollars in highly profitable revenue for the companies. Some developers deride this an unfair and unwarranted tax. Epic and its Founder Tim Sweeney have led the backlash this year.

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Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games

Photographer: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Google may change its policies if the Fortnite case ends up favoring Apple, said Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. No matter the outcome, Epic has gained a lot of goodwill among gamers and other developers.

“In the larger court of public opinion, in the U.S., my sense is that Epic is generally viewed as the good guy here, and Apple is viewed as the bad guy,” Ward said.

“It has raised the profile of Epic from an already well-respected game company to one that has a philosophy or a vision of where the games industry should go over time,” Ward added. “That vision is one that is more aligned with how the internet began, which was open and free and cheap.”

Read more: Epic’s Battle With Apple and Google Has Roots in the Pac-Man Era

The impact on Epic’s business so far has been “fairly negligible,” said Doug Clinton, co-founder at Loup ventures — tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. While players can no longer download Fortnite on their Apple devices, many of them have simply shifted their playing to consoles and PCs. Fortnite climbed SuperData’s rankings of top-grossing titles among console games in August, reaching third place. It ranked sixth in July, before the legal spat between Epic and Apple began.

Financially, Apple doesn’t have much to lose by kicking Fortnite out. The company has taken in about $350 million in revenue from Fortnite since the game launched on the iPhone in 2018, according to Sensor Tower data. Apple pulled in sales of more than $250 billion in its latest fiscal year.

Read more: Spotify, Match Launch Coalition to Protest App Store Rules

If the court forces Apple to keep distributing Unreal Engine, that could be positive for the iPhone maker. The decision would let other games that use the tools continue distributing their software via Apple’s platform, resulting in a 30% cut for each sale or in-app purchase. However, Apple argues that the continued distribution of Unreal Engine by what it considers to be a rogue developer could harm consumer security.

There are broader risks for Apple from the case, though. If Epic continues to paint Apple as the bad guy to younger iPhone and iPad owners who play Fortnite, that could twist the perception of these users toward Apple as a whole. If Epic wins key decisions, that would make it more difficult for Apple to impose its App Store payment system on other developers, curbing a high-margin source of revenue.

The lawsuit might also spur Apple to continue tweaking its store. While the company isn’t budging on its 30% cut, it has loosened some restrictions recently, letting a small handful of apps avoid the fee.

Read more: Apple Loosens App Store Rules a Bit After Developer Backlash

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    How to Find Latitude and Longitude Coordinates Using Google Maps – How-To Geek

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    As one of the most powerful mapping tools available, Google Maps has a number of features designed to help you pinpoint your location. If you want to know your exact position, you can pull up your GPS coordinates in Google Maps.

    You can get coordinates on all platforms, including the Google Maps website, as well as the Google Maps app for Android, iPhone, and iPad.

    Use the Google Maps Website to Find Coordinates

    You can easily find the GPS coordinates (showing the latitude and longitude) for a location using the Google Maps website. These steps work for Maps in any web browser, not just Google Chrome.

    To do this, search for a location in the search bar at the top of the Google Maps website, or use your mouse to zoom in on a location on the visible map. Once you’ve nailed down a location, right-click it to bring up an additional options menu.

    From the pop-up menu, select the “What’s Here?” option.

    Right-click a location in Google Maps, then press "What's here?" to view the coordinates.

    The button will bring up a small location box at the bottom of the page. You’ll see a series of numbers under the location.

    The coordinates for Buckingham Palace, London, shown on the Google Maps website

    These are your GPS coordinates, shown as decimal degrees. If you wanted to search for this location in Google Maps again, you could search for these coordinates in the search bar.

    Google Maps would then display the location for you to find more information about, or to help you create a custom map showing directions and other areas of interest around it.

    RELATED: How to Create a Custom Map in Google Maps

    Use the Google Maps Mobile App to Find Coordinates

    You can also use the Google Maps mobile app for Android, iPhone, and iPad to locate the exact GPS coordinates for any location worldwide. The steps for Android and Apple users are similar, but the iPhone and iPad have an additional step to follow.

    To find GPS coordinates, open the Google Maps app on your smartphone or tablet. You can use the search bar to find a general location or use the map view to locate it manually.

    If you’re using the map view, you’ll need to long-touch and select an unmarked location until a red pin appears.

    The coordinates will be displayed in the Google Maps for Android search bar when you drop a pin.

    The GPS coordinates for the Welsh Parliament, UK in the Google Maps app on Android.

    You’ll need to tap the “Dropped Pin” box at the bottom of the Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad.

    This screen appears after you’ve dropped a red pin onto the map view.

    Tap the "Dropped Pin" box after dropping a red pin in Google Maps on iPhone or iPad.

    Tapping “Dropped Pin” will bring up an information menu with the location address, as well as options to save or find directions to the location.

    The coordinates for the location will be listed under the address at the bottom of the menu.

    The coordinates for the Welsh Parliament, UK, as shown in the Google Maps app on iPhone.

    RELATED: How to View and Delete Your Google Maps History on Android and iPhone

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