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  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney grilled on platform agreements, V-Bucks

    eimoaotl said:
    eimoaotl said:
    There is a lot of vitriol on here against Epic.  I personally think that iOS has become like Windows and Mac, where it is a general operating system and that Apple should no longer be allowed to determine what I can and cannot do with the operating system.  My phone and my iPad are not like my gaming console - I use my iOS devices for basically everything, I use my xbox just for gaming and streaming shows.  I don’t think iOS and gaming consoles are equivalent.  But I do think iOS and windows are equivalent as they are both operating systems that enable me to do “limitless” things depending on software and how much limitation Microsoft and Apple actually put on them.  Same goes for the Mac my wife uses. Can you imagine how angry people would be if Windows mandated that everything now had to go through the Windows store and through their payment system?
    Windows has a dominant share of the computer operating system market.  iOS does not have a dominant share of the mobile operating system market in any country or geographical area.  You can choose to go somewhere else for your mobile platform if you are unhappy with the App Store.
    But it actually does have dominant market share in certain regions.  Windows was 77% of desktop in Q4 2020.  IOS is 61% of mobile in the US, and where I live it is around 9-10/10 kids using iOS products, and reasons they won’t use Android is because it makes their friends iMessage bubbles green. Seriously, that is what kids have told me.  And that not having Apple means you are poor, and no kids want to be seen as poor.  Apple did well on their lock-in to keep iMessage Apple only.  
    You are all over the place with your stats and comparing Apple to oranges.

    In the US the OS marketshare are 

    30% Windows
    30% iOS
    21% Android
    14% MacOS
    3.5% Chrome
    1.5% other

    Worldwide it's

    40% Android
    32% Windows
    16% iOS
    7% MacOS
    1% Linux
    2% other

    But with just desktop OS Worldwide 

    87% Windows
    9.5% MacOS
    2.5% Linux
    .5% Chrome

    with just mobile OS worldwide

    72% Android
    27% iOS
    1% everyone else

    Desktop OS US

    60% Windows
    28% MacOS
    7% chrome
    2.5% Linux
    2.5% other

    Mobile OS marketshare US

    60% iOS
    40% Android

    The problem with the mobile OS marketshare stat in the US is that the numbers uses quarterly sales and it can changes rapidly from quarter to quarter. For now iOS is ahead by 20% because of the recent release of the new iPhones and iPads. But when Samsung releases their new phones, it can easily swing 5% to 8% in Android favor and it'll be  53% iOS and 47% Android. Then back again with the next cycle. It's only been since the last quarter of 2020 that iOS over took Android. Right now, I doubt very much that there are more iOS users than Android users in the US. But that can  change if Apple can keep their 60% marketshare for a few more quarters.

  • Apple 'won't make an exception' for Epic to skirt App Store rules

    Apple said:
     ... We won't make an exception for Epic because we don't think it's right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.
    ... If Apple moves forward with its planned course of action, Epic will no longer be able to update the Unreal Engine ... Epic filed a temporary restraining order to halt Apple's escalation, saying the iPhone maker "is attacking Epic's entire business in unrelated areas."
    So, basically, Epic’s strategy assumed Apple would not ban them as a developer. I wonder if this is standard practice for developers who purposely try to circumvent the in-app rules, or if it is an exception.

    If it is an exception, it’s funny because Epic wanted Apple to make an exception for them, and they will have. Just not the exception they wanted!

    If it is not, and this is standard practice, then it just shows how ill-considered the whole gambit has been.
    What Epic did with Fortnight to bypass Apple in app paying method, did not result in Apple saying that they will pull Epic developer license at the end of the month. All Apple did was to ban Fortnight from the App Store. 

    Apple discovered Epic was violating several other rules of their enterprise developer license and informed Epic that their license will be pulled unless they remedy it by the end of the month. There has been no mention of what those violations entails. Or at least I haven't found any source with detail about those other violations. But my guess is that it's on the scale of what Facebook did in violation of Apple Enterprise Developer license, when the allowed non employees to side load a data mining app. 

    Apple threat of pulling Epic developer license is a separate issue, but Epic is making it seem that Apple is threatening to pull their developer license over what they did with updating Fortnight to bypass Apple in app paying method. And that is not true. All Apple did was to ban Fortnight from the App Store, until Epic fixed Fortnight to conform with the App Store rules. Like they would do with all apps that didn't conform to App Store rules. One does not lose their developer license just because they had an app that didn't conform to the App Store rules. How would Apple expect you to fix the problem than got your app banned, if they took alway your developer license and the use of the tools needed to fix the problem?  
  • Apple won't call to ask you to tell them a code you get on your iPhone

    That was not a "phishing" scam. With most, if not all, the phishing scammers do not know the log-in and the password to an account and is trying to get both. But with this one, not only did the scammer know the log-in to the account, but the phone number to where Apple sent the two-factor authentication code, when trying to log-in from an unknown device.  And in order to get Apple to send the code, the scammer must have known the password. With two-factor authentication, one must enter the correct password, before Apple will send a code to a trusted device, for log in verification. Without entering the correct password to the account, Apple might only send a warning of the attempts to log in. Apple send the code to verify that's it's you, that is logging in from an unknown device. This scammer was trying to hack into this guy account and already knew his log-in, password and verified phone number to the account. Not "phishing" for accounts to hack into by getting people they randomly call, to reveal their log-in and password.

    Plus, if his guy changed his password as soon as he received the first set of two-factor authentication codes, then there's no way for the scammer to get Apple to send another code, without knowing the new password. Plus the code times out. And how did the scammer know the password to the account was reset, without knowing the login and original password? 

    If you use "forgot password", then with two-factor authentication, Apple tells you to use one of your other trusted device to change the password to your Apple ID. It does not involve sending a code where the password can be changed on the device one is trying to log in from. Or answer the security questions from that device. And then you would still need to get a code to log in with a new password, if it's not a trusted device. That involves more than "phishing".   
  • New FAQ says Apple will refuse pressure to expand child safety tools beyond CSAM

    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    Bollocks. So when the Chinese government tells Apple to add a heap of CPP provided hashes, they’re going to refuse? Of course they won’t. If any government said provided data were hashes of CSAM material, who’s Apple to say it’s not?
    That's the great thing about the CSAM material; it's just hashes. In some countries it could kiddie porn; in other countries it could be photos taken by the police at protest march. And in those countries, Apple won't be the only ones checking the pictures.
    CSAM is not just hashes. Where did you get that idea? The hashes that Apple will compare against come from NCMEC, where the actual images are stored. The hashes are created from the images. Are we supposed to believe that NCMEC will now just accept a hash from any government that feels like sending it over without a corresponding image to go along with it?

    Let’s not forget that it US law requires tech companies to report incidences of CSAM. Also, using iCloud Photo Library is opt in, so people who are worried about their photos being matched to a hash don’t need to opt in.

    Gruber posits that doing the check client-side, rather than server-side, will allow them to fully encrypt iCloud backups.
    So you think China will be happy with Apple using hashes of NCMEC? Where the US government could insert hashes that are of someone they want in China, and then under the guise of CSAM find out all the photos they want of this person? 

    There is literally no point in encrypting backups if Apple has defied the trust of their customers by inserting this spyware. What's the point in end to end encryption if the spyware is already on the device pre-encryption? How long until it scans all files on your phone before syncing to iCloud? How long before it scans all files all the time? 
    That isn’t how hashes work. Hashes find the exact same photograph, not a photograph that is similar. So, your imagined scenario where the US government uploads a hash of a photo of someone they are looking for and in return get all photos of that person is not how it works. The uploaded hash would only help to find positive matches of that exact same photo.

    Also, as has been mentioned several times already, everyone can opt out.
    I don't think that's how it works. I someone cropped a photo that is in the NCMEC data base, it should have a different hash when scanned by Apple, but I bet it would still come up with a match. Same if some one were to place a "Smiley" sticker on one corner of the photo or to make a mirror image of it or change its color or contrast, to come up with a different hash. The detecting software is set to come up with a match if the photo is visually similar to one in the database. But it doesn't have to be any where near an "exact" same photo, to come up with a match.

    PhotoDNA developed by Microsoft around 2009 does this. 


    And interestingly, cited under "History" in the link ....... 

    >In 2016, Hany Farid proposed that the technology could be used to stem the spread of terror-related imagery, but little interest was initially shown by social media companies.[21] In December 2016, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft announced plans to use PhotoDNA to tackle extremist content such as terrorist recruitment videos or violent terrorist imagery,[22] which was done e.g. to automatically remove al-Qaeda videos.[23]<

    Also interesting is that the software can detect a hash of a photo spliced into a video. Which means that a video you might receive, might look harmless but can get you in trouble if there's just one frame of that video, which you can't see when playing the video, is a hash of a photo in the NCMEC database. 
  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney grilled on platform agreements, V-Bucks

    omasou said:
    If these quotes are even remotely correct. How in the world is this guy a CEO of any company?

    So consoles hardware is sold at a loss therefore they deserve a 30% commission rate but Apple makes a profit selling hardware so they do not? Really? Do you seriously think someone who has gone to college, law school and had the experience to become a judge is stupid enough to buy that line of reasoning? Please!
    Here's a more expanded version of what Sweeney actually said in court, about consoles selling at a loss. 

    >During his testimony, Sweeney said Epic does pay commissions to other platform owners such as Sony Group Corp's PlayStation and Microsoft Corp's Xbox but explained that those hardware makers use fees from developers to subsidize the further development of their hardware.

    Judge Gonzalez Rogers also asked her first direct questions of the trial during Sweeney's testimony, inquiring whether Apple's original iPhones from 2007 and 2008 were sophisticated enough to run Epic's video games. Sweeney said they were not.

    “So Apple did have to do something to the iPhone itself in order for it to be sophisticated enough to play your software? How is that any different than consoles?” she asked.

    Sweeney responded that the hardware development was similar, but the two devices had different business models.<


    Just because games console makers adapted the "give away the razor and sell the blades" business model, doesn't mean that they are losing money on the sale of game consoles. It has been proven many times over, that this is a very profitable business model. I'm willing to bet that a game console in it's lifetime, generate much, much more profit for the makers (from the sales of games), than an iPhone in its lifetime, generate for Apple, from the sale of apps. 
  • Apple reaping massive illegal profits from Apple Pay fees on card issuers, lawsuit claims

    There is no Apple "monopoly". Under the Sherman Act, iOS can not be consider a "relevant market" on which a monopoly is determined. The "relevant market" can not be (or very rarely can be) narrowed down to a single brand.  The "relevant market" in this case would be "mobile devices" or at the least ... "mobile OS". And Apple Pay is not a monopoly  in either of those markets. Apple would have a monopoly with Apple Pay only if the iPhone had a monopoly in the mobile device market or iOS is a monopoly in the mobile OS market.   


    Microsoft have a monopoly with Windows OS because MS Windows is on 80% of the World's desktop computers. Not because Microsoft have 100% of the Windows OS market.

    Just because one can only buy a Whopper at a BK, that doesn't mean BK, under the Sherman Act, have a monopoly with the Whopper. The "relevant market" would include all fast food burgers and not just the Whopper.  And BK is under no obligation to allow McDonalds to sell Big Macs in their BK diners, to compete with their Whoppers.     
  • North Dakota Senate debates breaking Apple's App Store monopoly

    danvm said:
    MplsP said:
    JWSC said:
    Putting aside the merits of this legislation, questionable though they may be, I’m not sure this can be done at the state level.  Interstate commerce remains the realm of the federal Government.

    It would be enlightening to know who is behind this legislative push.  As Deepthroat would have said, “Follow the money.”
    My thoughts exactly. The other question is why an xbox console is any different from a phone, other than some legislator got a campaign donation from Microsoft.
    There are a few differences.  For example, a console is not a general purpose device, as an iPhone / iPad.  Second, as today, console users are not forced to use the app store, neither the app store payment system.  They can purchase a physical or digital game from a retailer, like Amazon or Walmart.
    As of today, with a Live account, an X-Box One game console has a browser and can surf the internet. A X-Box One can send and receive eMail. An X-box One can control Smart home devices like a thermostat and cameras. An X-Box One can listen to PodCast. And X-Box One can  access and search You Tube. One can use Skype and video chat, for free. Add a keyboard and mouse to an X-Box One and it will support Office 365 and Zoom. Since the X-Box 360, with a Live account, one can buy and rent movies and stream it to a TV.  One can stream Spotify or Pandora with an X-Box. Even while playing a game. 

    You must be thinking of the game consoles that only plays games on a cartridge or disc. That must have been over 10 years ago.  With an online account, a game console is much, much more than for only playing games. They are as "general purpose" as an iiPad.  And all the apps that allows an X-Box to be more of a general purpose device can only be downloaded through Microsoft.

    Don't fall for Epic B.S. that game consoles are vastly different than mobile devices because they are only for playing games and therefore it's okay for Epic to pay them the 30% "tax", for access to game consoles customers and not Apple for access to their iDevice customers. Sweeney is clueless. Don't be like Sweeney.  He thinks it only cost Apple 2-3% to process CC payments through iTunes and it's the only thing the 30% "tax" pays for. 



    It doesn't matter if X-Box users are not forced to use the Microsoft Store in their X-Box to get contents into it, all contents for an X-Box must go through Microsoft and Microsoft will get paid for it. What? You think a developer can go to Walmart or Amazon and ask them to sell and distribute their X-Box software that is on a physical disc and they are able to bypass paying Microsoft and without a developer license from Microsoft? Get Real. 
  • Google fined $177M by South Korea for abusing smartphone dominance

    sflocal said:
    I'm a bit mystified by this.  Why don't they allow others to fork Windows then?

    I find it odd that a government is forcing a company to make its own product (test, based on open-source) to be modified by others and used in however they want.  

    I supposed if they're to do that, then Google should require that it no longer be called Android.  So odd.
    It's Google that is allowing the forks of open source Android. No one if forcing Google to do this. Microsoft does not allow anyone to fork Windows. 

    The problem is that Google do not allow any device maker to market a device using a fork of open source Android, if they also market a device running the Google license version of Android.  Samsung is not allow to market a phone using a fork of open source Android because they sell phones that uses the Google license version of Android. The license version of Android comes with the Google Play Store installed and support all of Google services. 

    LG was going to make the Fire tablet for Amazon, that runs on a custom fork of open source Android, but had to drop out because they were selling phones and tablets  that had the Google license version of Android. They didn't want to risk losing that license by also making a device for Amazon, that was going to use a fork of open source Android. This is what Google is getting in trouble for. 

    It's like how Microsoft got in anti-trust  trouble when they prevented PC makers from selling computers with Linux, by threatening to cancel their Windows license. 

    Here's a nice but long article detailing how Google controls Android. Both their license version and their open source version. 

  • Epic Games to hold 'FreeFortnite Cup' as part of anti-Apple campaign


    Apple has defended its decision, saying it "won't make an exception" for Epic to skirt App Store rules. The tech giant promises to terminate Epic's developer account and cut off its access to iOS and Mac development tools, a move that would prohibit Epic from updating the Unreal Engine on which many iOS and Mac games are built. Epic this week requested a temporary restraining order to stop Apple from following through with its threat.
    Once again, that is not entirely accurate. Most news site are only reporting what Epic is saying. And epic is lying or at the very least, not telling the whole truth. And its doing as much as possible to paint Apple as the only bad guy in all this. Very few sites are reporting what is actually happening.

    Epic is claiming that Apple will be terminating their developer license over their App Store violation of linking to an outside source to buy Fortnite V-bucks at a discount. Plus that Apple is retaliating against them for no other reasons. All Apple did for this violation was to ban Fortnite from the Apple App Store. As did Google from their Play Store.

    The threat of terminating Epic developer license stems from other violations that Apple discovered, after Fortnite was already banned.

    In a letter they sent to Epic, which few sites publishes or even mention, Apple gave the reasons for their action in terminating Epic developer license and the letter was not about Epic violating the Apple App Store agreement by including an outside link to buy V-bucks at a discount with-in the Fortnite app.

    this from macrumor     https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-threatens-to-terminate-epic-games-developer-accounts-on-august-28.2250375/

    The letter Apple sent reads .....

    >Upon further review of the activity associated with your Apple Developer Program membership, we have identified several violations of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Therefore, your Apple Developer Program account will be terminated if the violations set forth below are not cured within 14 days. [...]

    If your membership is terminated, you may no longer submit apps to the App Store, and your apps still available for distribution will be removed. You will also lose access to the following programs, technologies, and capabilities:

    - All Apple software, SDKs, APIs, and developer tools
    - Pre-release versions of iOS, iPad OS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS
    - Pre-release versions of beta tools such as Reality Composer, Create ML, Apple Configurator, etc.
    - Notarization service for macOS apps
    - App Store Connect platform and support (for example, assistance with account transition, password reset, app name issues)
    - TestFlight
    - Access to provisioning portal for certificate generation, and provisioning profile generation
    - Ability to enable Apple services in-app (i.e. Apple Pay, CloudKit, PassKit, Music Kit, HomeKit, Push Notifications, Siri Shortcuts, Sign in with Apple, kernel extensions, FairPlay Streaming)
    - Access to Apple-issued keys for connecting to services such as MusicKit, DeviceCheck, APNs, CloudKit, Wallet
    - Access to Developer ID signing certificates and Kernel Extension signing certificates 
    - Developer Technical Support
    - Participation in Universal App Quick Start Program, including the right to use the Developer Transition Kit (which must be returned to Apple)
    - Engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS hardware; optimize Unreal Engine on the Mac for creative workflows, virtual sets and their CI/Build Systems; and adoption and support of ARKit features and future VR features into Unreal Engine by their XR team

    We hope that you are able to cure your breaches of the Apple Program License Agreement and continue to participate in the program. <

    i have yet to see a site that has what the letter listed as the violations that Apple stated Epic must correct. Of course, maybe bringing a suit against Apple, might be a violation of the Apple developer license agreement that can get you license revoked. 

  • Microsoft says that if Apple isn't stopped now, its antitrust behavior will just get worse...

    Apple is much too successful - we need to stop it now! -- Microsoft

    Microsoft is pretty pathetic, and Apple's privacy terms rankle Microsoft's nerves. Too bad Windows doesn't have the same privacy safeguards - with Windows attempting to force everything through Edge.

    Microsoft runs their own closed ecosystem with XBox, so it's a lot of Microsoft calling the kettle black.

    The real monopoly is in the enterprise software realm where Microsoft keeps boosting prices for their good enough software.

    What really pisses off Microsoft is that they don't have access to Apple Silicon ARM processors, so Windows ARM will run faster on Apple hardware than on their OEMs - or indeed on their own surface machines.
    Microsoft has a point here. In the 90s it was so successful it almost killed Apple. On the other hand, Steve Jobs resurrected Apple without having to stop Microsoft. 
    Worth noting Microsoft invested in Apple in the 90's. Apple may owe Microsoft to a degree.
    Microsoft bought $150M worth of AAPL at around $20 a share. They were non-voting shares and if I recall, did not split in 2000 (Microsoft sold them all before the second split in 2005). At the time Apple had no debt and rumored to had had about $1B in cash. Apple did not financially need the $150M investment. 

    What Jobs needed was time to get Apple back on track and he did not want to have to the spend the time and resources to fight Microsoft in court over Microsoft stealing QuickTime technology.  A case that Apple was sure to win. So he made an offer to Microsoft to settle by having them invest in AAPL. This ended the lawsuit so Jobs can concentrate on Apple Computer, not the lawsuit. Plus by Microsoft showing confidence to invest $150M in Apple, it gave AAPL investors confidence to not sell and other investors to buy AAPL Thus bolstering AAPL share price until Jobs can release the iMac. Jobs could had ask for $150M in cash and Microsoft would had probably settled. Apple had that strong of a case. But Apple didn't need the money. 

    If Microsoft had held on to those shares, they would be worth close to $1.5B today, even without the splits along the way. Instead Microsoft "only" made about $350M profit with their investment. (If they had gotten the splits, their shares would be worth about $170B today.)   

    On a side note. Steven Jobs himself boosted his role in saving Apple by claiming Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy when he took over and only had enough cash to last another quarter or two. But he was using a quarter where Apple lost over $600M. Apple was not losing $600M every quarter. That quarter was an anomaly. Apple was only losing about $100M to $200M a quarter at the time. So Apple could have lasted another year or even two, with just cash on hand. $150M wouldn't even cover what Apple was losing in a quarter. So how did Microsoft $150M investment save Apple?  

    What's next? Are you going to tell us the fable about how Apple wouldn't be here today, if they hadn't "stolen" PARC technology?