Skip to main content

Microsoft Calls For Apple Antitrust Probe

Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Photo credit: UN Photo / Elma Okic, under Creative Commons license

At a Thursday event hosted by media firm Politico, Microsoft president Brad Smith called upon antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe to debate tactics used by app stores to take advantage of app developers seeking to distribute their software. Citing a Microsoft spokesperson, a report from Bloomberg noted that Smith's remarks were particularly targeted at the Apple App Store, which right now is caught up in a heated controversy for repeatedly declining update approvals for a new e-mail app from software company Basecamp. The repeated denials center on Basecamp's email app, named Hey, not having an in-app purchase option for its annual subscription. Usually, iPhone app subscriptions are made in-app and with Apple taking a significant cut (up to 30%) of revenues. Basecamp tried to circumvent this by making the subscription processes web-only and Apple is apparently not having it.

“They impose requirements that increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created,” Microsoft's Brad Smith said at the Thursday event. “In some cases they create a very high price per toll -- in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper,” he said, obviously referring to Apple.

“The time has come -- whether we are talking about D.C. or Brussels -- for a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created,” Smith said.

Microsoft itself may not be having it with Apple's significant revenue cuts on apps distributed on its app store, given the Seattle-based software giant distributes widely used apps on the store. For any subscription to Microsoft software made on an Apple device, the company has to give up between 15% to 30% of the purchase as a fee to Apple. Microsoft isn't allowed to circumvent such rule, as proven by Basecamp's case.

Microsoft isn't the only major tech company to have accused Apple of not playing fair. Music streaming service Spotify also did so last year, having even lodged a formal complaint against the company. Likewise, Epic Games, the gaming studio behind Fornite, and dating empire Match Group have also rallied behind Spotify. Also, the European Union (EU) has opened up a fresh formal antitrust investigation as regards Apple's App Store rules.





Comments

Most Read Posts

MicroStrategy Bets Big On Bitcoin

MicroStrategy, a publicly-traded billion-dollar business intelligence company, has adopted cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a major store of fiat value, with the company having allocated a major part of its cash position to Bitcoin. MicroStrategy recently purchased 16,796 Bitcoins for an aggregate price of $175 million, after having previously bought $250 million worth of Bitcoins. The company disclosed its purchase of $175 million worth of Bitcoins on the 14th of September, 2020, after having previously disclosed the purchase of $250 million worth of Bitcoins on the 11th of August, 2020. It's such that MicroStrategy has bet a total of $425 million on Bitcoin, an amount that represents 80% of the company's cash balance sheet as indicated by its most recently released quarterly results. A sizeable portion of MicroStrategy's balance sheet is now made up of Bitcoin, making it one of the rare big companies and more so a publicly traded one to make such a move.Cryptocurrency is usuall…

Airbus Debuts Zero-Carbon Plane Concepts

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has unveiled three concepts of zero-emission commercial aircraft that it says could enter into use by 2035. The three zero-emission concepts, with a general codename "ZEROe", include a turbofan engine design, a turboprop engine design, and a “blended-wing body” design. The turbofan design is made to fit between 120-200 passengers, the turboprop for up to 100 passengers, and the “blended-wing body” for up to 200 passengers. Airbus is debuting these concepts as part of efforts to tackle environmental pollution, given that planes although necessary for quick and easy global movement are one of the biggest environmental polluters worldwide. Airbus has given a timeline of 15 years from now that these concepts could be put into service, but being a concept, there's no guarantee that'll they eventually be adopted.ZEROe turbofan:
This design, with a turbofan engine, is made to fit between 120 to 200 air passengers and with a range of 2,000+ nautic…

Big-Name Investors Pile On Cloud Paper

Cloud Paper, a Seattle-based startup whose core product is toilet paper made from bamboo, has raised $3 million in seed funding from a host of investors led by venture capital firm Greycroft. Along with Greycroft, investors who participated in the seed round include; Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, music star Ciara, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, movie stars Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow, Riot Games founder Marc Merill, and NFL Quarterback Russell Wilson. Cloud Paper says it'll use the new funding to further its business and expand into other tree-free product areas. Toilet paper is conventionally made from materials cut down from trees. In fact, it's estimated that humans use the equivalent of 270,000 trees worth of toilet paper each day. Cloud Paper, with a goal of tackling deforestation, is now providing an alternative in the form of toilet paper made from soft bamboo. Although bamboo itself is a plant, it typically g…

Richard Branson Eyes $400 Million SPAC

Famed entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is apparently looking into yet another business foray, this time looking to launch a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) named VG Acquisition Corp. VG Acquisition Corp has already put out a formal press release indicating its plans of raising $400 million by offering 40 million units of shares for $10 each. The special purpose acquisition company or blank-check company as they're fondly called is seeking to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "VGAC", with a formal filing already submitted with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).Richard Branson, a successful long-time entrepreneur, isn't quite new to SPACs, having merged his aerospace company Virgin Galactic with one last year. Virgin Galactic successfully merged with Social Capital Hedosophia in October of last year and got $450 million to fund its operations in the process. The aerospace company began trading with an …

WM Motor Bags $1.5 Billion

WM Motor, a Chinese electric vehicle upstart, has said that it's raised 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in its latest financing round to further its operations. Among investors who provided the new funding include Chinese tech giant Baidu; SIG Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm; SAIC Motor, a Chinese state-owned automobile manufacturer; along with investment firms backed by the Chinese government. The new funding boosts the total amount of financing that WM Motor has raised since its inception to over $3 billion, on pair with the size of funding that other Chinese electric vehicle counterparts such as Xpeng, Nio, and Li Auto have raised both on the private and public markets.As of late, there seems to be enthusiasm for Chinese electric car makers, with two of such carmakers, Xpeng and Li Auto, having held recent successful public listings in the US. Xpeng's public listing raised $1.5 billion for its operations while that of Li Auto raised $1.1 billion for its operations.…

Social Capital Eyes $2 Billion SPACs

Social Capital Hedosophia, an investment venture led by venture capitalists Chamath Palihapitiya and Ian Osborne, has submitted formal filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission that makes note of the firm's intention to launch three new special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) that'll collectively raise $2 billion from investors. Before now, Social Capital Hedosophia had successfully launched three publicly-traded SPACs, and now furthermore intends to launch a fourth, fifth, and sixth that's targeted to raise $350 million, $650 million, and $1 billion respectively. Social Capital has courted a trio of technology luminaries to serve as independent directors for the new SPACs, with Nextdoor co-founder Nirav Tolia serving as director for the fourth while Facebook engineering VP Jay Parikh and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo serve as directors for the fifth and sixth.Social Capital Hedosophia launched its first SPAC, or blank-check company as it's fond…

Berkshire Makes Bank On Snowflake IPO

Berkshire Hathaway, the investment conglomerate led by famed investor Warren Buffett, has apparently made bank on its recent bet on cloud computing company Snowflake. On the cusp of Snowflake's IPO, Berkshire reached a deal to purchase 2 million shares in the company along with another 4 million shares from an existing stockholder. Snowflake made its public market debut yesterday at an opening price of $120-per-share, implying Berkshire's total 6 million share purchase cost it roughly $720 million. Snowflake raised $3.4 billion on its public market debut, marking the biggest software IPO ever measured by how much the company raised from investors. It's such that investors are apparently very optimistic about Snowflake, with the company's share price yesterday doubling from $120 to about $254 at market close. By that calculation, the value of the 6 million shares held by Berkshire now amount to over $1.5 billion, implying a roughly $800 million profit for Berkshire'…

The Chainsmokers Close Debut VC Fund

Popular electronic music duo The Chainsmokers, consisting of band members Alexander Pall and Andrew Taggart, have secured $35 million in capital commitments for their debut venture capital fund named Mantis. Among investors who committed to the new fund include luminary venture capitalists Ron Conway, Keith Rabois, and Mark Cuban as well as private equity billionaire James Coulter. The Chainsmokers share management of the venture capital fund with two day-to-day general partners by the name of Milan Koch, an investor who previously worked at seed-stage fund Base Ventures, and Jeffrey Evans, a record label founder and business acquaintance of The Chainsmokers. Not long ago, Mantis made one of its first investments ever in LoanSnap, a San Francisco-based lending startup which it chipped into a $10 million funding round for. Even before the formation of Mantis, The Chainsmokers had been individual angel investors, backing upstarts including Ember Technologies, a maker of temperature-cont…

Bridgewater Buys Into Nio

Bridgewater Associates, the world's biggest hedge fund, has made a relatively small investment in NIO, the Chinese electric carmaker. Recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission  (SEC) indicate that Bridgewater holds 856,026 NIO American depositary shares worth over $16 million at NIO's current (as of writing) share price. According to an SEC filing dated last month, Bridgewater held the same number of shares in NIO but at the time worth roughly $6.6 million. NIO has recently soared on the heels of a $1.5 billion secondary fundraise by the company, clinching a profit of more than $10 million for Bridgewater in the process. Although that profit figure seems bountiful, it pales in comparison to Bridgewater as a whole, being a hedge fund with well over $100 billion in assets under management.Bridgewater isn't exactly new to the electric vehicle industry, having previously bought a sizeable stake in Tesla, the biggest of any electric car company by market …

Chime Bags $485 Million

Corroborating a recent report of Chime, the digital banking upstart, looking to raise more funding at a valuation of between $12 billion to $15 billion, Chime has been reported to have bagged $485 million in Series F funding at a valuation of $14.5 billion, with CNBC the first to report on the company's fundraising. It was only 18 months ago that Chime raised funding at a valuation of $1.5 billion, implying an impressive 900% valuation jump with the company's new Series F funding. More impressive is the fact that Chime was founded only seven years ago and has apparently vaulted into the position of the most valuable consumer fintech upstart in the US, surpassing investment app Robinhood which was valued at $11.2 billion from its most recent financing round. In the overall US fintech market, Chime's valuation is only beaten by payments company Stripe.With Chime's new funding, the San Francisco-based company has now raised a total of roughly $2 billion in funding since i…