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Big Revolution - Apple's on shaky ground

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Welcome to Wednesday's newsletter. Let's dive straight in... — Martin from Big Revolution
 
June 17 · Issue #748 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s newsletter. Let’s dive straight in…
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Businesses can now buy Boston Dynamics’ lowest-cost robot ‘dog.’ The Spot Explorer developer kit costs $74,500.
  • Amazon is deploying social distancing A.I. in its warehouses. It warns workers if they get too close to each other.
The big thought
Credit: Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Credit: Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Apple’s on shaky ground
The timing was perfect. Apple had just made a stern defence against the EU’s new twin antitrust probes into the App Store and Apple when a case hit the news that highlighted exactly one of the problems the EU seeks to investigate.
Early in the day yesterday, Yahoo Finance reported:
“Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “It appears that Apple obtained a ‘gatekeeper’ role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple’s popular devices.
“We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books.”
Apple’s response? “We follow the law in everything we do and we embrace competition at every stage because we believe it pushes us to deliver even better results.”
But later in the day, Basecamp went public with the troubles it’s been having over the iOS app for its new email service, Hey. I won’t go into all the details here (you can read them in Protocol’s report and this Twitter thread) but the gist is that Apple inconsistently applies its rules, and inconsistently turns a blind eye to people who break those rules.
This inconsistency, coupled with the fat 30% cut Apple takes from the transactions on most iOS apps, certainly feels unfair to me. Developers have a choice — they can go to Android instead — but they only have one way of accessing the many millions of iOS users around the world, whereas there are several competing Android app stores.
I don’t claim to know in detail whether this counts as antitrust in the EU’s eyes, but when even Apple-fan-in-chief John Gruber thinks Basecamp has been treated unfairly, it’s clear Apple needs to clean up its act.
One big read
The 'Best of Nextdoor' Account Is Trying to Make the Site Less Racist The 'Best of Nextdoor' Account Is Trying to Make the Site Less Racist
How Jenn Takahashi’s usually humorous ‘Best of Nextdoor’ website is holding the real Nextdoor to account.
One big tweet
Edafe Onerhime (FRSA)
There’s a huge difference in a remote-work company vs a company working remotely.

The first is deliberately designed so people thrive in a remote-preferred environment.

The other exports face-to-face culture to a digital environment then wonders why performance is sub-par.
That’s all for today...
Back in your inbox tomorrow with more.
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