Connect with us


We didn’t take commission on 90% of App Store sales and billings • The Register



Comment Apple and Epic Games have delivered their final arguments in their California bench trial, but Cupertino is still ratcheting up the charm offensive, revealing the App Store “facilitated” a 24 per cent hike in billings and sales in 2020 to a record $643bn.

The data comes via a study [PDF] from economic consulting outfit The Analysis Group commissioned by Apple. Some of its findings addressed the points of contention raised during the bruising trial with Epic Games.

For example, Apple was forced to defend its anti-steering provisions, which prohibit software developers from pointing to alternative payment methods beyond the walled garden of the App Store. In practice, this means app-makers cannot mention or reference their own payment gateways, where they can process transactions without providing 30 per cent of their revenue to Apple.

The report noted that 90 per cent of total billings and sales occurred beyond the App Store, where Apple would not have been able to take a cut.

Looking at the data, this seemingly included sales of physical goods and services, where Apple didn’t charge a commission, and companies (like Amazon, Uber, and Lyft) that have developed apps specifically for iOS users are “allowed” to use their preferred payment gateways.

During the trial, Apple Fellow Phil Schiller distinguished physical goods from virtual ones by noting the firm was unable to guarantee delivery of the former.

Physical goods and services accounted for the overwhelming majority ($511bn) all of the total “facilitated” app revenue, up 24 per cent from a year ealier. Some $86bn came from digital goods and services, up 41 per cent, with the remaining chicken feed coming from in-app ad sales, which accounted for $46bn and was 4 per cent higher year-on-year.

Apple has tried to link these figures to the earnings of small software developers, highlighting its decision to drop its commission rates from 30 per cent to 15 per cent on small-volume devs in November last year, and pointing to a chart detailing close to three-times growth in earnings for app-makers who make “under $10m a year” since 2015.

But again, that might be misleading as no base figures were given – in fact the “small developer chart” (fig 1) included no financial values at all – and, as the Apple itself noted, the number of small devs increased by 40 per cent in these years.

The Analyst Group further broke down the $643bn figure by category into general retail, travel, food delivery, and so on. Predictably, general retail sales (like those from Amazon) accounted for the vast majority of physical goods and services revenue, totalling $383bn.

This is no surprise. With most brick-and-mortar stores shuttered around the world, and some regions limiting what supermarkets could sell, the only real option was to head online.

The little guys? Not quite

And it was the big players who benefited here, as demonstrated by’s top line for 2020, where revenues jumped more than 34 per cent to $215.9bn. Other large online retailers, like JD and Walmart, also had bumper years.

It’s fair to say that it’s most likely the intrenched retail players with apps on the App Store who benefited last year.

Similarly, the third-largest category, food delivery, is dominated by a handful of large companies, like Uber and Deliveroo. This is a space where smaller vendors are unable to compete. You need a vast moat of venture capital behind your back, as well as the stomach to withstand consecutive years of losses.

This isn’t the only piece of App Store fluffery Apple has published in recent weeks. In May, at the heart of the bench trial with Epic Games, it published a report claiming it stopped $1.5bn worth of fraudulent or suspicious transactions during 2020.

Apple has been repeatedly pressed to justify the 30 per cent cut on its larger developers, and pointed to the safety and security measures in the App Store, as well as other technologies, like the Metal graphics API.

In 2020, Congress estimated Apple’s costs of running the App Store amounted to just $100m, with annual global revenues of $15bn. ®

Source link


SSD belonging to Euro-cloud Scaleway was stolen from back of a truck, then turned up on YouTube • The Register



In brief Deepmind and the European Bioinformatics Institute released a database of more than 350,000 3D protein structures predicted by the biz’s AI model AlphaFold.

That data covers the 20,000 or so proteins made in the human body, and is available for anyone to study. The proteomes of 20 other organisms, from Zebrafish to E.coli bacteria, are also in there, too, and hundreds of millions of more structures will be added over time, we’re told.

“In the hands of scientists around the world, this new protein almanac will enable and accelerate research that will advance our understanding of these building blocks of life,” said DeepMind’s CEO Demis Hassabis. He hopes that it will be a valuable resource that will be used in the discovery of new drugs and our understanding of diseases.

Source link

Continue Reading


Reid Hoffman to join board of electric air-taxi start-up Joby



Reid Hoffman. Image:

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is helping to take Joby, which is being billed as ‘Tesla meets Uber in the air’, public through a SPAC deal.

Electric air-taxi start-up Joby Aviation will add Silicon Valley figure Reid Hoffman to its board as the company prepares to go public via a merger with a blank-cheque firm.

LinkedIn co-founder Hoffman, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Greylock, has a key connection to the 12-year-old start-up. Earlier this year, it was announced that Joby is going public through a $6.6bn reverse merger deal with Reinvent Technology Partners, the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Hoffman set up with Zynga founder Mark Pincus and investor Michael Thompson.

The deal is expected to close in this summer. Joby is the first aerial vehicle start-up to go public via the SPAC route, and the deal will provide the company with $1.6bn in cash.

SPACs have been growing in popularity this year as they can provide a quicker way of bringing a company public rather than the traditional route of an initial public offering.

Support Silicon Republic

Hoffman will be added by the Joby board once the deal is complete, alongside Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado and former Southwest Airlines CFO Laura Wright.

Toyota Motor Corporation board member and operating officer James Kuffner and Zoox CEO Aicha Evans have already been added to the board in recent months.

“We are incredibly humbled to have been able to assemble such a remarkable and diverse group of world-class leaders to guide and support Joby as we plan to enter the public market,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Joby CEO and founder.

Joby acquired Uber’s Elevate flying car business at the end of December and now plans to begin a commercial passenger ‘air taxi’ service in 2024. Hoffman described the venture as “Tesla meets Uber in the air” in a recent interview.

The company will work with Toyota from its California-based manufacturing facility to build its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Toyota led the company’s $620m Series C funding round last year, with other investors including Intel Capital and JetBlue Technology Ventures.

Source link

Continue Reading


Virtual contact worse than no contact for over-60s in lockdown, says study | Coronavirus



Virtual contact during the pandemic made many over-60s feel lonelier and more depressed than no contact at all, new research has found.

Many older people stayed in touch with family and friends during lockdown using the phone, video calls, and other forms of virtual contact. Zoom choirs, online book clubs and virtual bedtime stories with grandchildren helped many stave off isolation.

But the study, among the first to comparatively assess social interactions across households and mental wellbeing during the pandemic, found many older people experienced a greater increase in loneliness and long-term mental health disorders as a result of the switch to online socialising than those who spent the pandemic on their own.

“We were surprised by the finding that an older person who had only virtual contact during lockdown experienced greater loneliness and negative mental health impacts than an older person who had no contact with other people at all,” said Dr Yang Hu of Lancaster University, who co-wrote the report, published on Monday in Frontiers in Sociology.

“We were expecting that a virtual contact was better than total isolation but that doesn’t seem to have been the case for older people,” he added.

The problem, said Hu, was that older people unfamiliar with technology found it stressful to learn how to use it. But even those who were familiar with technology often found the extensive use of the medium over lockdown so stressful that it was more damaging to their mental health than simply coping with isolation and loneliness.

“Extensive exposure to digital means of communication can also cause burnout. The results are very consistent,” said Hu, who collected data from 5,148 people aged 60 or over in the UK and 1,391 in the US – both before and during the pandemic.

“It’s not only loneliness that was made worse by virtual contact, but general mental health: these people were more depressed, more isolated and felt more unhappy as a direct result of their use of virtual contact,” he said.

The report, Covid-19, Inter-household Contact and Mental Wellbeing Among Older Adults in the US and the UK, analysed national data from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council-funded Understanding Society Covid-19 survey and the US Health and Retirement Study.

Hu said more emphasis needed to be placed on safe ways to have face-to-face contact in future emergencies. There must also, he added, be a drive to bolster the digital capacity of the older age groups.

“We need to have disaster preparedness,” he said. “We need to equip older people with the digital capacity to be able to use technology for the next time a disaster like this comes around.”

The findings outlined the limitations of a digital-only future and the promise of a digitally enhanced future in response to population ageing in the longer term, added Hu.

“Policymakers and practitioners need to take measures to pre-empt and mitigate the potential unintended implications of household-centred pandemic responses for mental wellbeing,” he said.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, welcomed the report. “We know the virtual environment can exacerbate those feelings of not actually being there with loved ones in person,” she said.

“It’s essential therefore that government makes preventing and tackling loneliness a top policy priority, backed up with adequate funding.

“It’s not over the top to point out that in the worst cases, loneliness can kill in the sense that it undermines resilience to health threats of many kinds, as well as leading to older people in the twilight of their lives losing all hope, so they lack a reason to carry on.”

Patrick Vernon, associate director at the Centre for Ageing Better, said he saw many examples of older people using technology to stay connected in “really positive ways”.

But he was also doubtful: “We know that even for those who are online, lack of skills and confidence can prevent people from using the internet in the ways that they’d like to.”

Previous research by the Centre for Ageing Better found that since the pandemic, there had been significant increases in the use of digital technology among those aged 50-70 years who were already online.

But there are still 3 million people across the UK who are offline, with a significant digital divide affecting low-income households. Twenty-seven per cent of people aged 50-70 with an annual household income under £25,000 were offline before the pandemic.

Vernon said: “Our research has found that some people who were offline found it difficult to connect with family, friends and neighbours during the pandemic – and even those who were online said technology didn’t compensate for missing out on physical social interactions.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!