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June 2021
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Multan knocks Quetta out of PSL with 110-run win        WTC Final: Kohli eyes legacy, Williamson prize for consistency in battle of equals        India extends USD 100 million Line of Credit to Sri Lanka for solar energy projects        China successfully launches first crew to new space station        Biden, Putin discuss ambassadors, nuclear weapons and more        Pre-monsoon showers in national capital        Sonia taken Covid jabs, govt should inoculate all instead of creating non-issues: Cong        PM should acknowledge his mistakes, seek expert help to rebuild India: Rahul        PM invites world to invest in India        Yuvraj Singh becomes face of PUMA Motorsport in India        Dutee expects Olympics spot on basis of world rankings if not through qualification timing        India's fuel demand rebounds in June        Power consumption grows 9.3 pc in first half of June        UK expands COVID-19 vaccination drive to cover all over-21s        China says nuclear fuel rods damaged, no radiation leak        Tourists delighted after Taj Mahal reopens after two months        Odisha extends partial lockdown till July 1, opens borders with Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand        PM to launch customised crash course for Covid frontline workers        Unseeded Krejcikova wins maiden Grand Slam title in Paris        Diesel at Rs 100 mark in Rajasthan; Karnataka sees Rs 100/ltr petrol        
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Business News
Apple CEO faces tough questions about app store competition
 
San Ramon: Apple CEO Tim Cook described the company's ironclad control over its mobile app store as the best way to serve and protect iPhone users, but he faced tough questions about competition issues from a judge Friday about allegations he oversees an illegal monopoly.

The rare courtroom appearance by one of the world's best-known executives came during the closing phase of a three-week trial revolving around an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, maker of the popular video game Fortnite.

Epic is trying to topple the so-called walled garden" for iPhone and iPad apps that welcomes users and developers while locking out competition. Created by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs a year after the iPhone's 2007 debut, the App Store has become a key revenue source for Apple, helping power the company to a USD 57 billion profit in its last fiscal year.

The trial focuses on Epic's contention that Apple has turned its store into a price-gouging vehicle that not only reaps a 15 per cent to 30 per cent commission from in-app transactions, but blocks apps from offering other payment alternatives.

That ban extends to showing a link that would open a web page offering commission-free ways to pay for subscriptions, in-game items and the like.

Under friendly questioning from a company lawyer, Cook delivered polished remarks that sometimes sounded like a commercial for the iPhone and other Apple products.

But the normally unflappable CEO occasionally seemed flustered while being grilled by Epic lawyer Gary Bornstein.

His unease was particularly evident when pressed about the level of profits in a store that Jobs initially thought would be lucky to break even.

He seemed to stumble slightly again when when Bornstein confronted him about a deal in China that could compromise user privacy, even as the company maintains that protecting its customers' personal information is a top priority.

Cook, though, never wavered during nearly four hours of testimony from his position that Apple's grip on the app store helps it keep things simple for a loyal customer base that buys iPhones knowing they getting something that just works."

They buy into an entire ecosystem when they buy an iPhone," said Cook, who wore a face shield, but no mask in an Oakland, California, courtroom that has limited access because of the pandemic.

It wasn't at all clear that the federal judge who will decide the case was buying everything Cook said on the stand.

After the lawyers were done with their questioning, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked why Apple can't allow rival stores to offer an in-app transaction option on iPhones, iPads and iPods that might charge lower commissions. That is something Epic is fighting to make it happen, partly because it has a still unprofitable store that imposes a 12 per cent commission.

Gonzalez Rogers seemed particularly troubled by a survey indicating 39 per cent of iPhone app developers aren't happy with the current distribution system.

She also wondered about the fairness of a commission system requiring the makers of video games pay the bulk of the commissions, while digital services offered in other industries such as banking don't pay anything, even though they are using the technology that powers iPhones.

The gaming industry seems to be generating a disproportionate amount of money relative to the (intellectual property) that you are giving them and everybody else? In a sense it's almost as if they are subsidizing everybody else," Gonzalez Rogers said.

Cook agreed about the subsidy, but insisted there is still a fair balance because video game makers are able to reach a wider audience of consumers who become players while visiting the store looking at other apps.

He took issue with the notion that most app makers are unhappy with the store's current setup.

We turn the place upside down for developers," Cook said.

Gonzalez Rogers also didn't seem to buy Apple's explanation for a move it made last year when it lowered its commission on in-app commissions to 15 per cent on the first USD 1 million in revenue. Although the price cut came after Epic filed its antitrust case in August, Apple said the discount was driven by desire to provide a helping hand during a pandemic-driven recession.

At least what I've seen so far, that really wasn't the result of competition, (but) the pressure you were feeling," Gonzalez Rogers told Cook. Apple's app store practices are being examined by regulators and lawmakers in the US and Europe while Epic pursues its case.

Gonzalez Rogers is expected to elaborate issues still weighing on her mind Monday when she plans to pose questions to lawyers on both sides while they make their final points before she takes the matter under submission. It is expected to take several weeks or even months before the judge issues decision that could reshape the technology landscape.


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India's fuel demand rebounds in June
Power consumption grows 9.3 pc in first half of June
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SBI & IBA announces various support measures and launch of new loan products by all Public Sector Banks
Honda 2wheelers India resumes production at its plants across India in a phased manner
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KERALA NEWS
Kerala govt orders SIT probe into ''illegal'' tree felling in Wayanad
 Thiruvanathapuram: In view of raging controversy over the alleged illegal felling and smuggling of c  
LDF govt hand in glove with timber mafias, alleges Union Minister Muraleedharan
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16,204 COVID-19 Cases, 156 Deaths Reported In Kerala
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
China successfully launches first crew to new space station
 Beijing/Jiuquan, Jun 17 (PTI) China successfully launched its longest crewed space mission to date o
Biden, Putin discuss ambassadors, nuclear weapons and more
UK expands COVID-19 vaccination drive to cover all over-21s
China says nuclear fuel rods damaged, no radiation leak
NATIONAL NEWS
Pre-monsoon showers in national capital
 New Delhi, Jun 17 (PTI) Several parts of the national capital received light to moderate pre-monsoon
Sonia taken Covid jabs, govt should inoculate all instead of creating non-issues: Cong
Tourists delighted after Taj Mahal reopens after two months
Odisha extends partial lockdown till July 1, opens borders with Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand
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