Fortnite vs Apple and other tales of the week

Aug 19, 2020 3:42 pm

Hey, welcome to Wire Weekly.

The week's been pretty interesting thanks to Epic Games. Honestly, I found it more interesting than Fortnite itself.

Fortnite out of the App Store and Play Store.

  • Earlier this week, Epic Games implemented it's own payments system called Epic Direct Payment in Fortnite.
  • This means Epic now doesn't have to pay Apple or Google a 30% cut when a player purchases v-bucks, the game's in-game currency.
  • Obviously, Apple didn't like that quite much, so it kicked Fortnite out of the App Store on the grounds of "violation of App Store guidelines"
  • Google followed in soon throwing Fortnite out of the Play Store because it also demands a 30% cut.

The difference

  • Although Google removed it from the Play Store, Android players can still get from or the Galaxy Store. But iOS players aren't fortunate enough because the App Store is the only way to enter iPhones and iPads.
  • That's exactly why Apple CEO Tim Cook had to testify in front of the congress two weeks earlier.

"The App Store is the only gate to enter into iPhones and it's guarded by Apple who takes a 30% bribe to let an app in."

  • After throwing Fortnite out, Apple said in a statement to The Verge that it will take every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations. But Epic isn't in the mood for working with Apple, rather against Apple.

But Epic had it all planned.

  • A few hours after Fortnite was out of the App Store, Epic Games sued Apple and started its #FreeFortnite campaign.
  • Epic wants to “end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions" and make space for fair competition in two multi-billion dollar markets owned by Apple:
  • The iOS App Distribution Market
  • And, the iOS in-app payment processing market

Recalling 1984: Apple became what it rallied against

  • In the complaint, Epic also mentions Apple's famous "1984" advertisement where Apple depicts itself as the revolutionary force that breaks IBM's monopoly.
  • Now "Apple has become what it once rallied against: the behemoth seeking to control market, block competition and stifle innovation." reads Epic's complaint.
  • Not only this, Epic also made a mocking copy of the 1984 advertising for #FreeFortnite, which is worth watching.

Epic's not alone. There's Spotify, Airbnb, Facebook...

  • Spotify, last year, filed a complaint against what it calls Apple's "Apple Tax" which forces Spotify to increase it's subscription's price so it can cover up the 30% it has to give Apple to remain in the App Store. Thus, Apple Music which doesn't have to pay this fee can sell at a lower price and hence get more subscribers.
  • Because they're physical businesses, Airbnd and ClassPass normally don't have to pay Apple but as they started offering virtual classes and information sessions, they had to pay Apple
  • In June, Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson called Apple’s fee a “shakedown” and a “ransom” after the company’s email app, Hey, was rejected from the App Store because it used a different payments system
  • Facebook recently requested Apple to lower it's 30% fee for a feature that allows small businesses to earn from online fb events. Apple denied it causing small owners to get only 70% of the revenue.
  • We haven't even counted numerous small developers troubled with App Store policies.

(The Verge) (Forbes) (Gizmodo)

Week's News

🌁 Google Is Launching a World's largest Earthquake-Detection Network

  • It uses the inbuilt accelerometer present in most Android phone which is enough to detect the first wave that comes out of an Earthquake.
  • If your Android phone detects any of these waves, it will send this information along with your location to Google's Earthquake Detection servers.
  • The server will combine data from thousands of phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening.
  • it's quite like how Google figures out traffic on roads for Google Maps.

(Ars Technica)

A college student used GPT-3 AI to write a blog post that ended up being on the top of Hacker News

  • Liam Porr, who did this, was trying to demonstrate that the content produced by GPT-3 could fool people into believing it was written by a human.
  • Porr gave the AI only the headline and intro and GPT-3 didn't the job. (Check out the article here)
  • Comments of People who found out that it was AI made got downvoted in HackerNews.

(MIT Technology Review)

🌐 Microsoft says bye bye to the Internet Explorer

  • In exactly one year from now, Internet will no longer support Microsoft’s online services like Office 365, OneDrive, Outlook, and more.
  • And in November this year, IE11 will lose support for Microsoft Teams Web App.
  • Taking it's place will be the company's Chromium-based Edge browser

(The Verge)

Trump updated terms of the TikTok ban, giving TikTok 45 more days

  • President Trump issued an executive order than gave TikTok's parent company ByteDance 90 days to sell their US business to any US Company
  • The order also orders ByteDance to delete all data of American users collected through TikTok or it's predecessor

(The Verge)

🇮🇳 The next Samsung phone you buy could be made in India

  • Samsung is reportedly moving a large portion of its smartphone manufacturing to India to make devices worth $40B in 5 years.
  • This might lower phone's prices as import taxes won't be levied.
  • Previously, Apple set up a plant in India too.

(Android Authority)

🍎 Apple prepares to launch Apple One Subscription Bundle in October

  • The main idea is to bundle and sell more subscriptions at a price lower than what they'd cost separately to increase overall sales
  • Reportedly, there'll be 3 price variants but price is still unknown.
  • Apple is also developing a fitness video subscription to be included in the highest-end tier.

Learn more about Apple One by The Wire Mail


🏥 India to digitise Health Records

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August, announced the government’s National Digital Health Mission.
  • Under it every citizen will get will get a unique health ID and a registry of doctors and medical facilities.
  • Health ID will contain details of citizens diseases, diagnoses, report, medication etc., in a common database through a single ID.

(The Quint)

One-liner News

Google pays Mozilla around $400M to be the default search engine, every year. (ZDNet)

Facebook is integrating your Instagram and Messenger chats with its latest update, though you still can't message cross platform. (

📞Telegram debuts video-calling feature on Android and iOS (

Oracle wants to buy TikTok too. (FT Times)

📄The document sharing service, Scribd, acquires presentation-sharing service SlideShare from LinkedIn for an undisclosed price. (Tech Crunch)

India Will Issue E-passports to Citizens Starting Next Year. (Economic Times)

💸 TikTok might get an investment from Reliance. (Times Of India)

⚠️ Amazon Alexa Could Have Been Hacked to Access Private Data, Voice History (ZDnet)

📱ZTE's Axon 20 5G smartphone will have the first under-display camera

That's all for the week. (Engadget)

🔓Instagram kept your DMs and pics long after you deleted them. (TechCrunch)

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Team Wire Weekly