Issue 1439 - Friday 27th August, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Apple settles class action with App Store devs, gives token concessions

Apple has settled a class action lawsuit with a group of iOS developers that accused Apple of using its App Store monopoly to impose "profit-killing" commissions. The settlement deal includes Apple letting "developers use communication methods like email to tell customers about payment methods available outside of iOS apps, and it will expand the price points that developers can offer for apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions. Apple also plans to create a $100 million "fund" for small developers as part of the settlement, and it will release annual transparency reports on the app review process". These changes sound pretty tame in practice and the main issue, the enormous 30%/15% commission Apple takes, is not changing. Here is Apple's press release.

Reddit's CEO doesn't think it has a problem with COVID-19 & vaccine misinformation

Unsurprisingly, Reddit is a hotbed of misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccinations. It skates along mostly unnoticed compared to Facebook and Twitter (and possibly Whatsapp/Telegram groups), but an open letter on r/VaxxHappened signed by over 450 moderators is asking for subreddits existing "solely to spread medical disinformation and undermine efforts to combat the global pandemic should be banned". Reddit's CEO responded, saying "dissent is a part of Reddit and the foundation of democracy. Reddit is a place for open and authentic discussion and debate". Essentially saying they aren't going to create specific site-wide rules for this, you sort it out among yourselves.

ACCC wants stronger powers to investigate future big tech mergers

In a speech, the ACCC's boss said that there is a "gap in merger law in relation to digital platforms", specifically calling out "the big 4" - Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, who "between 2010 and 2020 acquired nearly 500 business - approximately 4 per month". Going on to say that "it is beyond debate that acquisitions have taken place that have contributed significantly to the substantial market power of the digital platforms. With the benefit of hindsight, they should not have been allowed to proceed". As a result, the ACCC wants "a tailored test for acquisitions by certain digital platforms" with a lower probability of competitive harm that what would apply to acquisitions in the economy more broadly. You can read the full speech on the ACCC's website.

Something I Saw On The Internet

This app claims to test an Android phone's water resistance and seems to work

I don't know for sure if this app actually works, but it's on The Verge, people on Reddit are convinced and the Play Store reviews look legit, so fuck it - check out Water Resistance Tester, an Android app that "tests the integrity of your Android phone’s IP67/IP68 rating by accessing the device’s barometer. Just download the free app, follow the prompts to press down firmly on the screen, and you'll get a swift pass/fail grade". Apparently the waterproof seals in smartphones degrade over time. Makes sense, but it would never have occurred to me to test such a thing.


The End

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​