Big Tech does not only have to worry about regulators seeking to curb its market domination. The leading players are increasingly having to watch their backs as well, as rivals seek to undermine their success.
From tomorrow, Google will cut the commission on apps and services sold through Google Play to 15 per cent on a publisher’s first $1m of revenues in competition with Apple’s App Store. Amazon rival Shopify said on Tuesday developers could keep 100 per cent of sales from the first $1m they make on its app store, starting August 1. Last week, Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 as a free upgrade later this year and said it would allow Android apps to run on it.
Clearly Apple is the main target, but an old West Coast alliance of convenience has also been allowed to expire. Richard Waters reports Microsoft and Google have ended an almost six-year truce where outstanding lawsuits had been settled and there was an agreement not to litigate or complain about each other to regulators without first trying to resolve disagreements at the highest level internally.
Some people inside Microsoft believed that the pact had been more beneficial for Google and it has stepped up its criticism of the search giant of late, on issues such as its digital advertising dominance and its row with Australia over paying for news.
In contrast to 20 years ago, Microsoft is now the least scrutinised among the major tech companies on antitrust grounds, and therefore has the most to gain in freeing itself of any impediments to helping legal challenges aimed at its rivals
1. Big Tech vs Lina KhanThis has come out of left field and seems unlikely to succeed, but Amazon is petitioning to force Lina Khan, the new chair of the US Federal Trade Commission, to recuse herself from any investigations involving the company. It cites her previous work and criticism of the ecommerce giant.
2. Amazon’s big handoverAndy Jassy takes over from Jeff Bezos at the helm on Monday and, in today’s Big Read, Dave Lee looks at what to expect from the man who has grown its cloud services operations to account for almost 60 per cent of the company’s yearly operating income.
3. Germany doesn’t like Facebook pagesGermany’s data protection commissioner has called for all government bodies to remove their Facebook pages by the end of the year, arguing that the social media giant failed to comply with German and European privacy laws.
4. Zipline drone operator doubles valuationZipline, the world’s only drone delivery service operating at scale, has raised $250m and more than doubled its valuation to $2.75bn. Founded in 2014, the California-headquartered start-up has made its name in Africa by supplying hospitals with blood, medicine and vaccines, completing more than 150,000 missions in the past five years.
5. Didi rises on debutThe ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing began trading at $16.65 per share in New York today, compared to its IPO price of $14, giving the company a market capitalisation of $80.4bn, but shares later slipped below $15 following the initial pop. Meanwhile, tech sector dealmaking in south-east Asia hit $19bn in the first six months of 2021, the strongest ever start to a year, fuelled by acquisitions by leading groups Grab, Gojek and Sea.
Parrot unveiled its latest drone today, with the Anafi AI flying squarely at the commercial market. The French company says this is a game-changer as the first drone to use 4G as the main data link between the drone and the operator. This should free it from transmission limitations, enabling precise control at any distance, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights. There is an improved 48-megapixel camera, with HDR features that allow better detail to be captured. The main use case is photogrammetry, where 3D versions of cities and installations can be built up from 2D photographs. New software means users can just click on a building on a map and a flight plan can be created, with the drone acting autonomously. The Anafi AI will be available in the second half at a price yet to be announced.