Ger­man econ­omy re­bound­ing Ap­ple’s smaller ri­vals unite to fight iPhone ‘app store’ rules

Govt faces risk from virus resur­gence Google’s poli­cies also on radar

Arab Times - - BUSINESS -

WASHINGTON, Sept 24, (AP): Spo­tify and the mak­ers of Fort­nite and Tin­der are tak­ing on Ap­ple and Google as part of a newly formed coali­tion call­ing for “fair treat­ment” in the way the tech giants run their app stores.

The Coali­tion for App Fair­ness, a Washington-based non­profit, launched Thurs­day and will ad­vo­cate for le­gal and reg­u­la­tory changes, such as mea­sures that could block Ap­ple and Google from fa­vor­ing their own apps in the iPhone and An­droid oper­at­ing sys­tems they con­trol. The ac­tivism from smaller ri­vals adds to scru­tiny the tech giants are fac­ing from US and Euro­pean reg­u­la­tors and law­mak­ers.

The group aims to be the “voice of app and game de­vel­op­ers in the ef­fort to pro­tect con­sumer choice and cre­ate a level play­ing field for all,” said a state­ment from Ho­ra­cio Gutierrez, head of global af­fairs and chief le­gal of­fi­cer for mu­sic-stream­ing pi­o­neer Spo­tify.

Ap­ple is the group’s main tar­get, though Google’s app store poli­cies are also on its radar. Both com­pa­nies this sum­mer dropped the pop­u­lar game Fort­nite from their app stores af­ter the game’s de­vel­oper in­tro­duced a di­rect pay­ment plan that by­passes their plat­forms.

Ap­ple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app rev­enue pur­chases, which has long been a sore spot with de­vel­op­ers. Fort­nite’s de­vel­oper, Epic Games, re­sponded by su­ing the com­pa­nies over what it sees as anti-com­pet­i­tive be­hav­ior. Epic is back­ing the new coali­tion along with Spo­tify, on­line dat­ing app maker Match Group, and other mem­bers in­clud­ing Tile, Base­camp, Pro­tonMail and Euro­pean me­dia in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions.

In ad­di­tion to the app stores, Big Tech is fac­ing fresh scru­tiny from an­titrust reg­u­la­tors. As the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion moves to­ward an­titrust ac­tion against search gi­ant Google, it’s cam­paign­ing to en­list sup­port from sym­pa­thetic state at­tor­neys gen­eral across the coun­try.

The an­tic­i­pated law­suit against Google by the Jus­tice Depart­ment could be the gov­ern­ment’s big­gest le­gal of­fen­sive to pro­tect com­pe­ti­tion since the ground­break­ing case against Mi­crosoft al­most 20 years ago.

FRANK­FURT, Ger­many, Sept 24, (AP): A widely watched in­di­ca­tor of Ger­man busi­ness con­fi­dence has risen for a fifth month in a row as Europe’s largest econ­omy re­bounds from the coro­n­avirus shut­downs – but the in­dex re­mains be­low its long term av­er­age and un­cer­tainty is high with virus cases ris­ing.

The Ifo in­sti­tute’s in­dex re­leased Thurs­day rose to 93.4 points in Septem­ber from 92.5 points in Au­gust.

The in­dex is based on a sur­vey of thou­sands of busi­nesses about their view of cur­rent con­di­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions for the fu­ture.

In this case the cur­rent as­sess­ment rose while the ex­pec­ta­tions part lev­elled off.

Af­ter shrink­ing 9.7% in the sec­ond quar­ter, the worst quar­terly fig­ure on record, the econ­omy is re­bound­ing from the se­vere shut­downs and re­stric­tions on ac­tiv­ity and move­ment of March, April and May.

Carsten Brzeski, chief eu­ro­zone economist at ING bank, said growth could re­bound sharply with growth be­tween 5% and 10% in the third quar­ter.

But the re­cov­ery still faces hur­dles and has a long way to go to re­gain its pre-pan­demic foot­ing.

“Given the re­cent soft­en­ing of lead­ing in­di­ca­tors, how­ever, there is a risk of a dou­ble-dip in the fourth quar­ter,” Brzeski wrote in a re­search note, “un­less so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules are eased fur­ther; a very un­likely sce­nario given the lat­est in­crease in new COVID-19 cases.”

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