Tag Archives: Apple

Amazon, Apple, Facebook & Google too strong – Antitrust warns

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Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are too powerful and will likely emerge from the coronavirus pandemic even stronger, the head of a US congressional antitrust committee said Wednesday at a high-stakes hearing featuring the CEOs of the four US tech giants.

“Simply put, they have too much power,” Representative David Cicilline said in his opening remarks at the hearing expected to feature a grilling of the leaders of the technology companies.

“Whether it’s through self-preferencing, predatory pricing, or requiring users to buy additional products, the dominant platforms have wielded their power in destructive, harmful ways in order to expand,” the Democrat from Rhode Island said.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these corporations already stood out as titans in our economy,” Cicilline said. “In the wake of COVID-19, however, they are likely to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

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Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner struck a more moderate tone, saying “being big is not inherently bad.”

“Quite the opposite, in America you should be rewarded for success,” Sensenbrenner said.

The unprecedented joint appearance — remotely by video — before the House Judiciary subcommittee features Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet.

The hearing is part of a probe into the competitive market landscape and antitrust law, but questioning is likely to veer into other areas such as hate speech and content moderation, economic inequality, privacy and data protection and even claims of political “bias” from President Donald Trump and his allies.

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Ahead of the hearing, the top executives of the firms sought to offer an upbeat assessment of the tech landscape, highlighting their roots and values and how the companies have benefitted average Americans.

“An important way we contribute is by building products that are helpful to American users in moments big and small, whether they are looking for a faster route home, learning how to cook a new dish on YouTube, or growing a small business,” Pichai said in his remarks.

Only in America
Cook said Apple is “a uniquely American company whose success is only possible in this country,” and that the California giant is “motivated by the mission to put things into the world that enrich people’s lives.”

Bezos, in his first appearance before a congressional committee, spoke of his modest upbringing and initial backing from his parents to start Amazon and its early losses of billions of dollars.

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“I walked away from a steady job into a Seattle garage to found my startup, fully understanding that it might not work,” said Bezos, who is the world’s richest person based on his Amazon stake.

Zuckerberg called social media colossus Facebook a “proudly American company” and added that “our story would not have been possible without US laws that encourage competition and innovation.”

But hours ahead of the hearing, fast-growing video app TikTok accused Facebook of “maligning attacks” that are part of a movement “disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”

TikTok welcomes “fair competition” chief executive Kevin Mayer said in a blog post while adding that “without TikTok, American advertisers would again be left with few choices.”

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Political theatre?
The hearing is part of a congressional probe into “online platforms and market power” and takes place against a backdrop of antitrust investigations in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Current US antitrust laws make it difficult for enforcers to target companies simply for being large or dominant without also showing harm to consumers or abuse of market power.

The committee, however, could lay a blueprint for antitrust in the digital era that would require a fundamental rewrite of the century-old competition rules.

Some analysts say the hearing could offer fresh insights into how Big Tech “platforms” squelch competition by buying rivals or copying products from rivals.

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Apple’s hefty commissions for its App Store and Amazon’s dealings with third-party sellers are expected to come under scrutiny.

Google, which has faced antitrust investigations in Europe, will face questions on whether it favours its own services to the detriment of rivals and Facebook for its dominance of the social media landscape including its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank often aligned with the sector, said the political theatre may distract from the issue of competition and focus on issues “from privacy to political speech.”

“These companies create enormous value for hundreds of millions of users and small businesses,” Atkinson said. “Congress shouldn’t twist antitrust law to launch an ill-defined broadside on internet platforms as a class.”


#Newsworthy…

Apple’s denial for Dubai Police to check Hushpuppi’s social links | Reason

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It has been gathered from a reliable source in Dubai, the police have tried in vain to unlock the devices and approach the phone giant Apple who declined the request based on data protection and customer confidentiality rule.

Apparently the devices were encrypted and Apple has stopped overriding the codes.

Recall with NRM that about a week ago, HushPuppi who was allegedly arrested for involving in fraudulent activities. According to reports, the Dubai based big boy was arrested after he was linked to a fraud on the unemployment insurance program if states in America.

There is hardly an Instagram user in Nigeria that does not know who famous and wealthy Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, Hushpuppi is.

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The way he flaunts his designer wears caught our attention, but the car he’s always spotted with has most of this attention.

Hushpuppi is best known for his luxurious lifestyle he lives both home and abroad. The young man has taste for good things as he is highly fashionable.

The pictures he shares on his social media handles show the kind of life he lives as he believes highly in living large and having fun to the fullest.


#Newsworthy…

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Apple set to reopen retail stores.


Apple said on Thursday that it would reopen its retail store in Seoul, South Korea, this week as part of a broader push to resume physical retail operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Bloomberg. There are no concrete plans yet to reopen stores elsewhere, although Apple has said in the past that it could start reopening stores in the US sometime in May.

Apple initially closed its retail stores in mainland China earlier this year, and then in March, it closed all 458 other locations around the world, with a deadline of March 27th that has since been extended indefinitely as the spread of the virus has worsened. The closures have affected Apple’s ability to conduct in-store returns repairs, offer Genius Bar support, and sell inventory containing both its own products and those of third-party partners.

“South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19,” Apple said in a statement given to Bloomberg. South Korea, which has a population of more than 51 million, has just over 10,500 confirmed cases and only 229 deaths. The country’s success at containing the virus is why Apple now feels comfortable reopening its sole store in the South Korean capital. Last month, Apple also reopened all 42 retail stores it operates in mainland China.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will keep the store on reduced hours “to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy,” and the focus will be on offering product support instead of making sales, with Apple urging customers to use online ordering and in-store pick up for those interested in buying products.


#Newsworthy…

France fined Apple over slow software – iPhone users


France’s consumer watchdog said Friday that Apple had agreed to pay 25 million euros ($27.4 million) for failing to tell iPhone users that software updates could slow down older devices.

The scandal erupted in December 2017, when the US tech giant admitted that its most recent iOS software was slowing the performance of older telephones whose battery life was deteriorating.


Critics accused the firm of surreptitiously forcing users to buy phones sooner than necessary, and the outcry forced Apple to upgrade its software and offer steep discounts on battery replacements.

French prosecutors opened an inquiry in January 2018 at the request of the Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP) association.


“IPhone owners were not informed that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices,” the DGCCRF anti-fraud agency said in a statement.

“This is a historic victory against scandalous ready-to-rubbish practices, for consumers as well as the environment,” HOP co-founders Laetitia Vasseur and Samuel Sauvage said, adding that they will consider filing claims for additional damages for iPhone clients.

Apple said it welcomed the accord with the DGCCRF, which will allow it to avoid a potentially embarrassing public trial.

“Our goal has always been to create secure products appreciated by our clients, and making iPhones that last as long as possible is an important part of that.”


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Apple closes china stores – Resumption date disclosed ..


Apple announced on Saturday the closure of its stores, corporate offices and contact centres in mainland China until February 9 due to the new coronavirus epidemic.

The virus has prompted the government to extend the Lunar New Year holiday through this weekend in a bid to contain its spread, but many provinces and cities have called on companies to delay their return to work.

“Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it,” Apple said in a statement.


It added the closure was decided “out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts”.

Apple’s online store remains open and the company said it would closely monitor the situation.


China is home to the firm’s third-biggest consumer market and much of its supply chain.

But like every company in China, it has been affected by the virus that has killed 259 people and infected nearly 12,000.


Some of Apple’s suppliers are based in the area near Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak.

Apple chief Tim Cook said on Tuesday that the company was working on “mitigation plans” to make up for production loss with alternate sources.

The company had already closed one of its Wuhan stores while some retail partners have shuttered their shops or cut hours of business.

Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn, which makes iPhone products, is keeping its Chinese factories closed until mid-February and is allowing local employees to delay their return after the new year break.


#Newsworthy…