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Epic Games taking names in row with Apple/Google, and more tech news today

There's a fresh app store Battle Royale, and picking sides feels a bit weird... plus more tech news you need to know today!

Published onAugust 14, 2020

POCO F2 Pro Fortnite in game

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Friday, 14 August 2020.

1. Fortnite/Epic Games versus app store taxes

Epic Games kicked off a brief, enthralling campaign against Apple and Google yesterday. First, it emerged that it had found a way to offer discounted in-app purchases in Fortnite, the lifeblood of the game. All without Apple or Google taking a cut, the lifeblood of those app stores.

This is what was being displayed on each store in the US:

  • So, Epic managed to offer a workaround direct purchase option buy in-game Fortnite currency, without requiring approval from Apple or Google’s reviewers, and ducking the Apple Tax/Google Tax.
  • And for a few hours, it was all working wonderfully. Until Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, and Google followed a few hours later.
  • Epic Games, though, came ready. It quickly unveiled a #freefortnite campaign, featuring a clever parody of one of Apple’s most famous TV commercials, back in 1983.
  • Epic seemed to be solely focused on Apple here. I think that’s partly because Google has clear terms on how games can handle in-app purchases through its payment systems. And, on Android, Epic Games has its own store anyway, and has long encouraged gamers to sideload Fornite direct onto smartphones. That was the only way to get Fortnite for some years, before Epic grumpily yielded and joined the Google Play Store back in April, 2020.
  • Epic filed legal action against both companies. One interesting wrinkle in the lawsuit against Google is a new claim by Epic that accuses Google of crushing Fortnite deals with OnePlus, LG (Android Authority).
  • Spotify chimed in to support Epic, too (MacRumors).
  • So, it’s a Battle Royale.

Choosing sides:

  • We’re well into the era of companies having committed enough fans to entice them to fight against fans of other companies.
  • And the fairly high stakes drama being played out here is much more enjoyable than backroom dealings.
  • But I’m not exactly rooting for the billion-dollar company versus another trillion-dollar company.
  • However, both store policies that act to take a 30% cut of revenues are terrible.
  • What we can appreciate is that action like this may eventually play out to better help independent developers on both iOS and Android, who can’t do anything but lose 30% of revenue.

2. Apple One: Apple’s rumored subscription service looks like it’s finally here, bundling Apple services as soon as October (Android Authority).

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: The best Apple Watch alternative (Android Authority).

4. Microsoft Surface Duo shown off in 30-minute press video: curious about what the unique hinged device can do? This video covers a lot of it (Android Authority).

5. Apple, Intel, Disney, Ford, among others, urge Trump to rethink scope of a potential WeChat ban (Android Authority).

6. Samsung’s mmWave touting Galaxy A51 5G arrives on Verizon, cheapest 5G offer yet (Android Authority).

7. Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs are ready to take on Ryzen 4000 mobile, and Intel seems confident. Next up: benchmarks, and beating out previous supply issues (Ars Technica).

8. Russell Kirsch, inventor of the pixel, dies in his Portland home at age 91. Kirsch, in his later years, worked on doing away with square pixels (DPReview).

9. Floppy disks refuse to die: Boeing 747s still use them to get critical software updates (Gizmodo).

10. Photoshop will help ID images that have been … Photoshopped (Wired).

11. Disney+ and Lego are making a new ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’. The back story is great! (Engadget).

12. Here’s the ambient noise within the International Space Station (Soundcloud).

13. ELI5: On massive online games and worlds (MMORPGs), how can a server flawlessly handle thousands of players across the entire game world, but experience problems when lots of players are in one place? (r/explainlikeimfive).

The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!

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