Apple vs Epic, TikTok vs Trump, and other tales of the week.

Aug 26, 2020 5:17 pm


Here's the week's best, most relevant news crisp and easy.

The two cover story this week are updates on previous stories published on the Wire Weekly.

But don't worry if you haven't read those ones, I've linked to them before each story. ;)

Update: Epic vs Apple


Image by Epic Games'

[Don't know about this topic? Read previous events in this story]

  • Context: When Apple kicked Epic Game's Fortnite out of the App Store last week, little did we know it was all a trap. Epic almost immediately started a marketing campaign mocking Apple's App Store policies and filed a lawsuit against the company.
  • Apple retaliated by threatening Epic to terminate it's App Store developer account which will make Epic unable to support it's Unreal Engine.
  • Unreal Engine is Epic's graphic tool. A huge number of developers use it to build games, VR experiences and even majo television shows.
  • If Apple blocks Epic from supporting the Unreal Engine, these third party developers will be the victims.
  • Take Microsoft for example, the company uses Unreal Engine to make Forza, their flagship game.
  • But if Epic won't be able to support Unreal Engine anymore, Microsoft will be troubled for absolutely no reason.
  • That's one of the two reasons why Microsoft showered it's support in favour of Epic.
  • Second reason? It's also a victim of App Store policies. Apple is the only major platform to deny Microsoft's Xbox game streaming on iPhones which it says is denying "consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription service"

"Epic is putting the whole App Store model at rest" says Apple

  • An Apple executive wrote that Epic CEO asked for a "special deal with only Epic" that would "fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple's iOS platform."
  • But Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted:
Apple's statement is misleading. You can read my email in Apple's filing, which is publicly available ..."We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers..."

Epic won a restriction order… not for Fortnite though

  • Yesterday, Unreal Engine saved Epic's App Store developer license.
"... [Epic and Apple's] dispute should not create havoc to bystanders" it's what the judge said during the first hearing of the case. (Full hearing on 28 September)

  • But this doesn't mean a victory worth celebrating for Epic because Fortnite is still out of the App Store and now legally so.
  • Because Judge said Epic has "strategically chosen to breach it's agreement with Apple"
  • Also Epic had not yet demonstrated the "irreparable harm" Apple's action has caused as it claimed in the legal papers.

(The Verge) (BBC) (TechCrunch)

Update: Trump vs TikTok, WeChat

[Don't know about this topic? Read previous events in this story]

  • Context: Rumours of TikTok suing Trump administration were out soon after the president signed an executive order forcing the app to either sell off it's US operations or disappear from US at once — within 90 days.
  • But this week, TikTok confirmed it will sue Trump administration for the first time.
  • The company is also in talks for a deal with Microsoft, the result of which will be out by 15th September.

Trump administration is getting sued for the WeChat ban too… but WeChat isn't the one suing

  • A group of WeChat users are suing Trump administration over the WeChat ban "because it violates users' due process and free speech rights".
  • They say the ban targets Chinese-Americans to whom WeChat "... is the primary app … to participate in social life …"
  • There's 1B users of the app in China but only 1.5M in the US.

Guess who started the TikTok safety threat stories? Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Last year, in his trip to Washington DC, Zuckerberg made private and public speeches on TikTok as a threat to national security — while TikTok is more of a threat to Facebook than anything else.
  • It was after meeting Zuckerberg that senators began raising questions about TikTok's safety.
  • Facebook is using TikTok to distract attention from it own regulatory concerns and to get lawmakers to crush it's rival.
  • In an open letter, TikTok CEO also said Facebook is trying to gain traction by launching another copycat products after it's previous copycat app Resso failed.

(The Verge) (Wall Street Journal) (Engadget)

Back to the...

Week's News

🚫 Imgur Launches An Ad-free subscription service

  • Called Emarald, the subscription is offered through a company called Coil
  • Coil is a group that's trying to make micropayments work across the web.
  • You pay a monthly fees of $5 and Coil pays it to all companies and creators whose blogs you read or websites you use.
  • Signing up for coil you'll get a access to a lot of features all over the web. In Imgur, you'll get Emarald subscription which lets you post images in comments, use members only Avatar, ability to block tags etc
  • Also you'll get to ad-free access other websites partnered with Coil. Including The Hard Times, Reductress, HackerNoon... etc

(The Verge)

🗣️ Mark Zuckerberg Testified Before the FTC as a part of the FB antitrust probe

  • This doesn't necessarily mean the FTC will file an anti-trust lawsuit against Facebook, Politco's sources said anonymously.
  • The FTC has been investigating Facebook for potential violation of US anti trust laws.
  • Last year, the FTC even fined the social network $5 Billion.


📰 News Publishers Join The Fight Against Apple

  • Sometime in 2017, Apple struck deal with Amazon to make its Prime subscription available on Apple TV and Amazon will make other Apple products available on its platforms.
  • The deal also mentions that Apple would reduce it's 30% cut from Prime subscriptions to 15%.
  • Additionally, Amazon could use its own payments system outside of Apple. 
  • This deal remained undisclosed until the US Congress uncovered an email and asked the Apple CEO about the same.
  • To which, Tim Cook replied "[these 15% lower fees is] available to anyone meeting the conditions."
  • And now, the CEO of Digital Content Next, a news publishers trade body that represents the NYTimes, The Wall Street Journal, Vox media etc wrote to Tim asking what these "conditions" are?
  • Fun Fact: Amazon's founder Mr Bezos owns Washington Post which is also represented by the DCN.

(Wall Street Journal) (DCN)

👷 Google launches Kormo app in India to help people

  • Last year, Google made a jobs app available in India under Jobs as a Spot on the Google Pay app.
  • Since then, Google says a number of companies, including Zomato have posted 2M+ verified jobs on the platform.
  • So, Google is rebranding it as Kormo Jobs in India and also making its standalone Android app available.
  • Job aspirants can also learn new skills and easily make a CV.

(Tech Crunch)

💰Apple Successfully Forced WordPress to monetize it's app so it can earn comissions

  • Apple stopped updates to WordPress' iOS app which let's you build and manage websites for free
  • Because sells custom domain and paid subscriptions on their website, but not on the app.
  • The app is completely free to use and there's no option to buy any paid plan or custom domain on the app.
  • These services are promoted on its website only. Yet Apple stopped updates to the app.
  • Apple later apologised but the company's founding developer says he can't fight it anymore and he's adding brand new in-app payments for paid subscriptions in the iOS app soon

(The Verge)

⚖️ WhatsApp won antitrust case — in India

  • In March, A case was filed against WhatsApp because it was bundling its digital payment facility — WhatsApp Pay — within its messaging app for which it already has a large user base.
  • Thus abusing its position by forcing its payments feature on to its existing users.
  • This week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it did not find any contravention of antitrust laws, adding the company’s “actual conduct is yet to manifest in the market” as it has not fully launched the service yet.
"As stated by WhatsApp, the number of users being served under the beta version is limited to less than 1% of its users in India,” said the order.
  • WhatsApp is close to a full launch of it's payment service after struggling months to get clearance.


📣 Reddit reports 18 percent reduction in hateful content after banning nearly 7,000 subreddits

  • In June this year, Reddit began a huge campaign to remove hateful content from its site, blocking communities that engaged in hate speech and harassment.
  • Before this campaign, ~40,000 pieces of hateful content were shared on the platform.

(The Verge)

🎶TikTok is also removing hateful content

  • Since the beginning of 2020, it has removed 380k videos, 64k comments and banned 1.3k users.
  • The company also formed a content advisory council earlier this year and made a transparency centre" for outside experts to look into content moderation on the platform


🍎 Apple is now worth $2 Trillion Company

  • It's also the most valuable company of the US.
  • Even globally, only some Saudi Arabian Oil Industries are valued $2 Trillion.
  • Recently CEO Tim Cook became a billionaire too.

(The Verge)

🕹️ Xbox CEO Explains Physics Behind PlayStation 5's Design

  • Phil Spencer, in a interview, explained that choosing a design for a gaming console and that too for so high-powered ones like their Xbox Series X or Sony’s PlayStation 5 can become a tedious task.
  • Many factors like cooling, energy consumption, and performance come into play about which the designers have to think.
  • Talking about Microsoft’s Xbox design, Phil explained, 
“We chose our design because we wanted a large fan that we could spin a little more slowly so we’re not making noise. We wanted to have a very quiet console.”.
  • Coming to the design of the PlayStation 5, Spencer added 
“Knowing that the PlayStation 5 is running at higher clocks … it creates unique design challenges in how you keep these things cool. They took an approach that’s different ... I haven’t been around a PlayStation 5 running, but I am sure that they had similar design goals for themselves..."


🏆 Epic hosting #FreeFortnite tournament with anti-Apple prizes

  • You can win a in-game skin of the evil-looking apple featured in Epic's 1984 video, a Free Fortnite hat, and even non-iOS gaming hardware including an Alienware laptop, an OnePlus 8, a PlayStation 4 Pro etc.
  • Epic also reminds players to move to other non-iOS platforms to play the next season of the game launching on 27th August.

(The Verge)

🚗 The Tesla Dating App for Elon Musk fans is... a joke.

  • Canadian developer, Ajitpal Grewar, made the Tesla Dating Co. website, "an exclusive community of like-minded Elon stans"
"You can't spell love without EV (electronic vehicle)"
  • It turns out though that the app is not ready just yet.
  • He says he wanted to test his idea before considering making a dating app.

(The Verge)

📺 Ryan Reynold's Free Streaming Platform has Just One Movie

  • Called Mint Mobile +, this free streaming service which has a design like Netflix has only one show: Foolproof.
  • Foolproof is about a group of friends that simulate heist plans in their spare time--until one of their plans gets stolen by an actual thief, who commits the crime and blackmails them.
  • The platform might shut down very soon.


⚔️ Chrome's dino game gets an awesome new mod


  • Instead of jumping over the cactus, you can use one the 26 weapons to cut them down.
  • It was made in partnership by internet collective MSCHF and 100 Thieves.

One liner News

🏙️ University student made a typo that created a giant 212-story building in Microsoft Flight Simulator. (The Verge)

🏪 Apple’s Official Online Store in India to Open Next Month. (Beebom)

🚢 This giant glowing orb is the world’s first floating Apple Store at Bayfront of Singapore. (The Verge)

💸📲 People are selling iPhones with Fortnite installed for ridiculous amount of money. (iMore)

🔌 Flipkart Announces 100% Transition to Electric Vehicles by 2030. (Beebom)

🕹️Flight sticks are selling out after the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. (The Verge)

🏚️ BlackBerry 5G phone will debut in North America and Europe in the first half of 2021. (Gadgets360)

🖼️ Instagram will now show you posts from Explore tab at the end of your feed. (Like the feed wasn't enough?) (TechCrunch)

📂 Windows 95 is 25 years old now. (The Verge)

👃 Would you like a robot take a nasal swab of you for COVID-19 test? (I wouldn't like a human doing that to me either.) But bot designed for this is ready. (The Verge)

😷 This DIY “Mask Gun” Throws Masks Right at People Faces. (Beebom)

That's all for the week. Feedback (and critics) always welcomed.


Team Wire Weekly.