China tells Tencent and Netease to focus less on profit as gaming crackdown expands
Chinese regulators have summoned companies to demand they play down profits and further clamp down on how minors can play video games, just days after children in the country were banned from access during the week.State-run news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday that authorities had called in firms, including industry leaders Tencent (TCEHY) and NetEase (NTES), to discuss restrictions around the streaming and playing of video games among minors.During the meeting, companies were “urged to break from the solitary focus of pursuing profit or attracting players and fans,” according to the report. They were also told to modify any rules or design elements of games that could be seen as “inducing addictions.”
The discussions included representatives from four government agencies: the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the National Press and Publication Administration, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, according to Xinhua.
“Companies failing to follow the requirements will be stringently punished,” the state news agency reported.
In a huge blow, judge rules Apple can’t force developers to exclusively use its App Store payment system
Apple can no longer prohibit app developers from directing users to payment options outside its App Store, a judge ruled on Friday. The decision, which followed a contentious court battle with the maker of the hugely popular Fortnite video game, is a major blow to Apple — but the company also scored a partial victory as the judge stopped short of calling it a monopoly.Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the US District Court in the Northern District of California ruled on Friday that Apple (AAPL) had violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by forcing Fortnite and its maker Epic Games to use Apple’s payment systems on the App Store, with the iPhone maker extracting a 30% commission on every in-app purchase in the process. She issued an injunction saying Apple can no longer prohibit developers from adding links within their apps to outside payment options; for example, alerting users to the option to pay for a subscription on a web browser, rather than through the app.But Gonzalez Rogers sided with Apple on the suit’s other claims and said she could not conclude that the iPhone maker is a monopoly.
“Given the trial record, the Court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws,” court documents read. “Success is not illegal. The final trial record did not include evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry and conduct decreasing output or decreasing innovation in the relevant market.”
Facebook and Ray-Ban are rolling out smart glasses that actually look cool. Will anyone buy them?
On a sunny May day in 2012, Google cofounder Sergey Brin walked down King Street in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood with a pair of black, lens-free smart glasses on his face.He was trying out Google Glass about a month before the company publicly unveiled the device. But he wasn’t actually doing anything with it, because it was out of batteries. (I know, because I saw him walking down the street that day, and asked him.)Google Glass eventually flopped as a consumer product, with some wearers of the gadget dubbed “Glassholes” for the perceived creepiness of the device and its prism-shaped over-eye display. But it set the stage for years of wonderment and bewilderment about smart glasses: What should they look like? What will we do with them? And who even wants to wear them, anyway?
In the nearly a decade since, many tech companies (including Amazon, Bose, and Snap) have tried to answer these questions in different ways, but none have truly popularized the idea of smart eyewear. On Wednesday, Facebook became the latest to offer an attempt for public consumption: glasses called Ray-Ban Stories, created with Ray-Ban (the brand is owned by eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica). Facebook hopes they’ll be worn to take pictures and short videos, listen to music, and make phone calls, by anyone 13 or older.
Australian court says media companies are liable for comments on their Facebook pages
Media companies in Australia are liable for the comments that Facebook users post under their articles, the country’s highest court ruled this week. The decision could have widespread consequences for how Australian publishers interact with their readers on social media.The High Court of Australia on Wednesday dismissed an argument brought by three major news organizations, which contended that they could not be held responsible for comments that people posted on their Facebook (FB) news pages. The news outlets had appealed a lower court ruling.”The appellants’ attempt to portray themselves as passive and unwitting victims of Facebook’s functionality has an air of unreality,” the court wrote. “Having taken action to secure the commercial benefit of the Facebook functionality, the appellants bear the legal consequences.
The appeals court “was correct to hold that the acts of the appellants in facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments,” the High Court wrote.
iPhone users will no longer need to bring their IDs to the airport in these states
Apple has enlisted eight states in a program that allows people to “seamlessly and securely” add their driver’s license or state IDs to their Apple Wallet to use at airport security checkpoints.Arizona and Georgia are the first states to enroll in the program, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah following soon. In a release Wednesday, Apple said the initiative is an “easy, fast, and more secure way” for people to present their IDs on their iPhone or Apple Watch to Transportation Security Administration officers.Apple (AAPL) didn’t say when the TSA program, which was first announced in June, will officially launch in these states.
To ensure it’s official, the user will have to take a selfie after uploading a picture of their driver’s license or state ID card. They will also be required to complete facial and head movements, similar to how Face ID is activated. The upload will be “securely provided” to the state for verification.
Once activated and approved, users can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch at the identity reader at the security checkpoint and the agent will see information required to fly. It works similarly to how people use the Wallet to make purchases at card readers.Of course, don’t leave your ID at home completely — you’ll still need it to fly home if you’re traveling to a state that’s not in the Apple program.
For security, Apple says the information on the IDs is “encrypted and protected against tampering and theft.” Biometric authentication is also used to ensure the proper person is using the phone or watch.