Tech News Weekly Episode 218 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show. 

Mikah Sargent (00:00):
Coming up on Tech News Weekly, Jason Howell is out, but don't worry. I've got a great show plan for you. We start by talking to Anna Kramer of Protocol about Microsoft's acquisition of Actvision Blizzard, and whether or not Microsoft can make a change in the company. Then Rene Ritchie of Ritchie stops by to talk about the app store changes, taking place around the world, and then also how that may or may not affect what Apple does in the US. Lastly, we have Mark Gurman joining us from Bloomberg to talk about big tech lobbying. Yes, there are some big tech bills making their way through the Senate. And we're curious to hear what Apple and Google have to say about them before I give you my story of the week. It's about 5g and how it may actually be causing some real issues. Stay tuned.

... (00:54):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT.

Mikah Sargent (01:14):
This is Tech News Weekly episode 218 recorded Thursday, January 20th, 2022. This up percent of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by progress. Progress has the technology you need to secure, analyze and integrate your applications, network and processes. Find out more and download a free trial at and by podium join more than 100,000 businesses that already use podium to streamline their customer interactions. Get started for free at, or sign up for a paid podium account and get a free credit card reader restrictions apply and buy imperfect foods. Imperfect foods is catching the food. That's falling through the cracks of our food system by sourcing quirky yet delicious foods right now, imperfect is offering our listeners 20% off your first four orders. When you go to imperfect and use the promo code T N w hello, and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where every week we, or today I talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news.

Mikah Sargent (02:22):
I am, of course, Mikah Sargent and Jason Howell would normally be in that second seat. But he is not here today. I believe he is vacationing, which is a very good and important thing to do. And especially during this pandemic. So I'm very happy that he's away. And, and, you know, at the helm today to talk about quite a bit of stuff turns out when your guest host is out, you get to invite even more cool people onto the show. And I'm very excited to say that the first cool person I'm talking to today is from protocol. It's Anna Kramer. Hello, Anna.

Anna Kramer (03:00):
Hi. How are you doing?

Mikah Sargent (03:01):
Oh, I'm doing well. How are you doing?

Anna Kramer (03:05):
I am great. And exceptionally overwhelmed by the quantity of news in the tech world that has hit us this week.

Mikah Sargent (03:13):
Yeah, absolutely. So this is the, kind of the big story this week, and that's why I'm glad to have you on first and foremost, to talk about this act vision blizzard was acquired by Microsoft. This news kind of came through and suddenly everybody was just, ah, you know, lots and lots and lots talk about it's pretty accurate. <Laugh> yeah, there, I mean, just so much noise about it. I think what's really cool. Is I out to former colleague of mine and I believe a current colleague of yours, Megan, Moroney mm-hmm <affirmative> to talk about the activist activism, blizzard acquisition, and what's cool is that you look at things from the business side, if, if I'm remembering correctly. So this is a great opportunity to kind of talk about that as opposed to just gaming side, which of course was the first kind of, Ooh, what's going on here. So I was hoping that you could start by letting us know kind of this deal going through how much Microsoft paid for avision blizzard in case someone doesn't know, and we can go from there

Anna Kramer (04:16):
And you know, what, as soon as we start this, I realize, I don't remember how much you Microsoft based for activism blizzard, because that is quite literally not the part that I

Mikah Sargent (04:24):
Use exactly

Anna Kramer (04:25):
Cover. So essentially the reason that this is relevant to me is that I AMR labor and workplace reporter. And so I write about culture issues and what happens inside of a tech workplace and activism blizzard is quite possibly the most chaotic tech workplace that we cover, which I'll get into in a second. And so the fact that Microsoft went and purchased this tech workplace that we spend quite a lot, a lot of time talking about for culture reasons leads to this huge question of what happens when one absolutely enormous business buys another extremely large business, and what happens to the people who work there and the companies when they try to combine. And so that's the angle from which I've been approaching this, I've spent quite a lot of time talking to people who work for the gaming studios that are already owned by Microsoft, as well as the people who work at activism, blizzard, who will then become part of Microsoft. If that makes sense, if that's the

Mikah Sargent (05:17):
Perspective. Yeah. That I'm, that's absolutely. That's fantastic. So, yes, it's 68.7 billion. There we go. Thank you. I nearly 78. I appreciate that. You're welcome. And I apologize for that that first little throw there, because honestly that's what I was so excited to talk to you about is the mm-hmm <affirmative> the, the perspective that you have. So honestly, I just kind of wanna, I I'll throw in some questions as we're going through it, but I just love to hear kind of what you learned as you've been hearing about, you know, this company being acquired mm-hmm, <affirmative> the sexism and discrimination that's taken place at activism blizzard. The fact that Microsoft is dealing with its own ongoing concerns there. I mean, there's a lot here, so yeah, take it away.

Anna Kramer (05:57):
Yeah, absolutely. So for people who don't have the context for activism Blizzard's history over the last six months, we've watched both the state of California and the federal government, E O C that's the equal employment and opportunity commission investigate the, well, I guess you could call it a toxic frat house culture that allows for gender and sex based discrimination at activism blizzard. So there have been all of these revelations, basically countless horror stories that a lot of women who work at the gaming company have about the way their coworkers, especially men and men in superior positions have treated them. And basically the state of California and the federal government have, have been investigating the company for sort of allowing this to happen. And so when the news broke that Microsoft was going to acquire this company, it immediately raises all of these enormous questions about what happens to a company in turmoil that has cultural issues that might be fixable and might not be honestly the scale and scope of them sort of continues to amaze me.

Anna Kramer (06:57):
It's unlike anything we've seen in a lot of tech companies. So like what happens now is the huge question here. And Microsoft has said, like they said, in the call announcing the acquisition that obviously they knew that there are a lot of culture problems they're gonna have to deal with as a company. Once the acquisition officially goes through. The big problem here, of course, is that that acquisition take 18 months, two years, the federal trade commission may wanna look at it because there's a lot of questions about what does it mean if Microsoft is buying yet another huge gaming studio and shrinking the competition space with gaming studios, right? So all these culture questions are gonna be unanswered for quite a lot of time. And other than that, sort of the big thing people are asking is whether the CEO of avision blizzard, Bobby Kotick is going to remain at the company after the acquisition.

Anna Kramer (07:46):
And while he, and avision have sort of taken the official position that he will remain, it does seem like some from some reporting that it's pretty obvious he's gonna depart as soon as the acquisition closes, which I think is kind of that big action we're gonna see from Microsoft trying to fix the culture issues at division blizzard, right? That's gonna be a pretty easy thing for them to say, if Bobby Kotick leaves, it's like, okay, Bobby is out fixing the problems here is gonna be a lot more straightforward. So it's kinda of the general sum up of where we are.

Mikah Sargent (08:16):
Yeah. Before act vision blizzard was acquired. They had, I believe fired more than 36 employees. They had disciplined 40 others. But COIC was still in that role and was accused of not only letting this stuff continue to happen, but in some cases being a part of it as well. And I think what you our, our, like getting rid of the CEO, who it wasn't was, seems to be, you know, was reportedly very complacent in all of this stuff is one thing. But I imagine it takes more than just getting rid of the CEO in your conversations with folks at, at gaming companies. What is kind of the thought, what is the, the, the method to, to fix these problems? Is it a matter of, of changing leadership? Is it a matter of changing you know, employee mindset? How do you even go about sort of reconstructing something from the mess that it currently is?

Anna Kramer (09:21):
And so that's a huge question that I think some people wonder if it's even possible. And that's, what's so bizarre about this. Microsoft is a company that is known for at least trying harder than most tech companies to try to address these issues, to like try to address cultural problems, to have standards that they try to enforce. There are a lot of people who've worked at Microsoft for an extremely long time who are very proud of that reputation and who feel like they've earned that reputation. And so there's also been some reporting that some people at Microsoft are obviously pretty on happy about this because they see this as almost like an endorsement or acceptance of a bad culture in return for like the, a great financial future for Microsoft Xbox, if that makes sense. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and so I think what we'll see here is that all of the like Microsoft standards and Microsoft cultural rules are probably going to be applied to division blizzard more than they would be other gaming studios that Microsoft has acquired in the past.

Anna Kramer (10:23):
But how that plays out is actually the thing that everybody is waiting to see that we won't actually know the answer to until after the acquisition is done. But what we can be very confident about is that Microsoft is gonna have to do quite a lot to appease both the upset workers at division blizzard and its own enormous company where I think a lot of people are kind of skeptical that it's possible to fix this problem in a way that will help Microsoft's reputation in the long term. So I guess it's a big as

Mikah Sargent (10:53):
Vision here. Absolutely. I mean, as well as it's investors, you wrote about Microsoft agreeing to compile a report on the status of all sexual harassment and gender discrimination investigations at the company. So this, this makes me wonder so we've got that on one side where there, you know, have been these different investigations at the company, including with founder, bill gates is so we've got that thing there. And then just yesterday. So we do a show it's called windows weekly on on the twit network and it's all about Microsoft. And one of the things that one of the hosts Paul Thra talked about is something that's been ongoing. I can remember as a younger person. I was never a gamer, but my father was, and listening to some of the nonsense, the horrible stuff on Xbox live.

Mikah Sargent (11:45):
And Paul was just talking yesterday about how it's just as bad if not worse than it was at that point. So with the knowledge that, you know, the company has had this Xbox live culture of, of yuckiness, and on the other hand, they've got these investigations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, et cetera. What do you, I mean, what are the thoughts about Microsoft being the right steward for evolving this company? And on the other hand, do you think that, that Microsoft buying this company had some level of, of now I can't think of the term of tone deafness, is that it? Yeah. of, of saying, oh yeah, it's embroiled, but you know, this will be for, for Microsoft in the end. Can Microsoft fix this, given what it already has taken on and has not yet fixed?

Anna Kramer (12:43):
I think it's a hard question to ask because I think it's really like, you're asking, can Microsoft fix the fundamental cultural problem with gaming? <Laugh> right. True. <laugh> it's like, this is, it's not just Xbox. This is PlayStation. This is every single game that quite possibly exists. Maybe animal crossing doesn't have this problem. But like almost every single game has a problem with the people who play it. There is a subset of people who embrace a culture that is very toxic. And then when it comes to the game gaming world itself, the people who work in gaming understand that the reputation of game developers is not a good one when it comes to treating people with respect and kindness and basic human decency. And I, I know that sounds terrible and I'm not insulting like most gamers. I'm just saying, this is a cultural problem that exists across the gaming world.

Anna Kramer (13:32):
And I think we can all agree that that it's a universal problem. And so Microsoft might not be the best person or best company to fix the problem. But I also, I don't think there is one company that is particularly suited to be addressing all of these issues. I, I have a hard time thinking things will change dramatically, but I'm just the skeptic in terms of my workplace reporting in general, I think rarely you see things change in a really dramatic way at a company, if there's a problem mm-hmm <affirmative> but you know, there is a first time for everything. Microsoft does have an unusually strict set of corporate procedures for this kind of stuff. The fact that they're doing that investigation, we talked about into, you know, compiling the report into sexual harassment investigations on the corporate level at Microsoft is a big deal.

Anna Kramer (14:18):
That is not something you see most large companies do. It was CR this, the report is, was initiated by a shareholder resolution, but the company really seems to be embracing the fact that they need to do that, which is not something we have seen at any company of comparable size. So, you know, I have a hard time making what I feel like is an accurate judgment here, but I feel like it is possible that Microsoft could be the right company for this. And at the end of the day, I think it is kind of moot because regardless of whether it's tone, deaf buying activation blizzard is like fricking brilliant in terms of their long term financial success as a gaming company. And that's really what they care about. Like Xbox is a project they're not giving up on.

Mikah Sargent (14:57):
Right? Absolutely. You know what? That was just the perfect answer. Anna Kramer, I very much enjoy your workplace reporting over on protocol and folks can head there to check out your work. If they wanna follow you on line, is there a place they can do that?

Anna Kramer (15:12):
Absolutely. I'm on twittter at Anna underscore C underscore Kramer, Kramer with a K I'm also on LinkedIn where I post quite a lot. And if you wanna talk to me, you can always shoot me an email. And my email is on the protocol website and also on my twittter.

Mikah Sargent (15:27):
Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Anna Kramer (15:29):
Thanks really for appreciate you having me

Mikah Sargent (15:33):
Alrighty, folks up next apple has had to make a few changes to its app store in a couple of countries. We will talk about those changes next, but first this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by progress. Now, this is a company, not just a, a name progress has been enabling enterprise experiences for decades and has assembled the technologies that will empower businesses to thrive in a post COVID world. Most companies don't have the resources to invest in technology as digital Goliath suite. And we're just talking about that a little bit. They need to use technology to create differentiation with a smaller in estimate. They can achieve this by turning to progress as their trusted provider with progress. Any organization can achieve the level of differentiation that is critical in today's business environment, whether you're an it professional concerned about networking and infrastructure security and compliance or enabling web and digital experiences, progress has a solution for you move it managed file transfer.

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Mikah Sargent (17:42):
Find out more and download a free trial at don't miss out. Visit for your very own progress swag bag. Thank you progress for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. Let's get back to the show. So there's been some news this week, and I think maybe even last week, a little bit about app store changes apple and Google in, in many cases is involved in these changes first in the Netherlands, and then also in South Korea where rulings there have resulted in apple needing to make changes to the app store. Joining us today to talk about these changes and kind of dig in a little bit and pull this stuff apart is Ritchie's Rene Ritchie. Hello, Rene.

Rene Ritchie (18:38):
Hi. Hi Mikah. That's always so good to talk to

Mikah Sargent (18:40):
You. Yes. Good to chat with you too. So let's dig into this. The first thing we wanna talk about is the Netherlands it's a very interesting ruling because it's specific to dating apps. And basically it says that dating apps have to be allowed to use third party payment systems if they want to. Now, what I understand is that apple will stay, will still take a cut, which is kind of the, the big thing about why people would want to use a third party payment services so that the cut is reduced 15% for small developers, 30% for larger developers. Do we know how much this cut is going to be, that Apple's going to take?

Rene Ritchie (19:24):
I, I don't think we have any absolute numbers now. I mean, we could model it based on what Google's doing, and that is 15% if you use their system. And I think gets it's 11%, it's 4% less if you decide to roll your own. But I, I think like the, like the bigger picture here just for a second is that we, in the beginning, everything is such a big gold rush and the app store and the Google play stores start, and you have all these like gold rush mentalities and people are making money handover fist, because there's very little commod. There's very little competition yet. There's still scarcity. And there are these big success stories. And then like Apple's only taking 30% traditional publisher relationship. They take 55%, this is amazing. But then as time goes on and platforms mature and things become hypercompetitive and now apps are basically commoditized. They're pop they're, like what happens to internet news and internet music. It was Napster like just the, the value of each individual piece has been taken away. So they're only really valuable and aggregate. And then you see people starting to stop growing the pie and fighting over the size of their, their slice of pie <laugh> and a lot of these lawsuits are fighting over that slice of the pie.

Mikah Sargent (20:32):
Gotcha. Gotcha. So, yes, this is sort of the modern way of the web, trying to, to sort of get, as you say, your piece of the pie in this now similar things have happened in South Korea. There aren't as many details there. In fact, apple hasn't has, has given its suggestions or, or what to have you to the, the south Korean board that's in charge of this, but we don't really know kind of the details there. Do you think that this is going to be similar to what we see in the Netherlands where it will be the, this third party payment system allowed, but it will require the, or that the apple will still kind of take some sort of cut from that? Is it, is it gonna be similar in, in your opinion to what's already there?

Rene Ritchie (21:20):
Yeah, I think what apple, what apple needs to do, because one of the problems that we're facing right now is that a lot of these systems, whether it's Google or apple or, or anyone Amazon were built up during a time when the internet was largely unregulated and that meant that they could move at international scale, there's basically one set of rules for the app store, for the Google play store, like for all of these things. But now they're start to fall under the jurisdiction of very different, small regions of the world. Like, you know, small quotes, small, like the us is regulating in the EU is regulating Korea, Japan, or regulating. And it's, it would be very, very hard for them and for developers who wanna sell internationally to try to figure out rules for every different place. So it'd make it almost unworkable. So I think what apple is doing is setting up a se a series of APIs that are gonna expand what the app store can do. So rather than just transact with the app, there are gonna be APIs that apple uses. If you want to use a third party payer, you've gotta ask for one of two different entitlements, you've gotta tell them which payer you're using. And I can't, I can't imagine those won't just be rolled out internationally eventually because it will be mm-hmm, <affirmative> absolutely unworkable if they aren't. Yeah.

Mikah Sargent (22:25):
Can we actually, I was hoping you could explain for someone who, you know, comes across this story and they see the words that they see the phrase create a separate app binary. Those are kind of weird words for the average person. What does it mean for a developer to need to create a separate app binary? And why do you think apple is at least saying that they are, are doing it this way?

Rene Ritchie (22:53):
Yeah. You know, I can't speak to why apple would be doing it this way. I think it does make the lives of users much more complicated. Apple seems to not care about the complication when it comes to like forcing us to buy comic ology or audible books outside of the app store. Anyway it maybe that's just for pure platform management reasons, but you would have to basically make a second version of the app. So you could have Dutch dating app, you know, the regular version and then Dutch dating app PayPal edition that if you use that one, you can choose PayPal, for example, as your provider and not have to go through the app store transactions. And this, this, these are always win and lose. I for customers because there are a lot of benefits of going through the app store in terms of like, it's, it's one single transaction, you have a set payment system you can go in and dispute the transaction.

Rene Ritchie (23:41):
If you want to, if it's a subscription, they're forced to notify you in advance if they wanna renew it, which is not the norm by any means for subscription services. And also for developers, because understanding tax laws in every single country that the app store runs in is, is difficult. Like how do you know what taxes you're, you're supposed to pay in Japan? So I think there's a little bit of grass as greener there, but they will save, they will save on some transaction fee fees. And I think apple and Google are being very careful to reduce the amount of commission by a very small amount, because they want you to think that the value of the app store of the Google play store really is far beyond just transaction processing. Like everything that they provide for you, that's the 8% or the 9% or the 11% of the fees. And it's really like three or four, that's the cost of doing the transaction.

Mikah Sargent (24:28):
Now you talked to, and I imagine no, quite a few developers who make apps for the app store, you and I both. And I'm curious about your, if you you've sort of done the litmus test if you've, if you've the the dip to the toe into the pool and, and checked the the heat, I'm curious, kind of, do we think, do you think that developers are going to make use of this option? And if so, what kind of developer will be more likely to make use of this option? Is this, is this kind of a, just a big company thing, or are there cases where smaller developers who only have a 15% commission rate would maybe be encouraged to use a different type of payment system on the app store?

Rene Ritchie (25:20):
Yeah, I think you nailed it there. I think, you know, developers, aren't a uni mine. They're not a monoculture. And a lot of times people say developers are upset about this. And some, some very vocally on twittter, but others just as vocally, not, you know, for example, some people really want side loading so they can get their epic game store onto the iPhone. Others are terrified of it because they believe their $10 calculator app is gonna just be ripped off through piracy immediately. And the same thing with this, some, some of the larger companies who hand large bulk transactions all on their own are very excited because they think that they'll save a little bit of money on those fees, but other developers are like, we're just gonna be frauded out of existence. Like, how are we gonna be able to track any of these transactions? It's gonna be much more, more difficult. And of course they don't have to offer any of these things, but it's that classic argument of when it's impossible, nobody even thinks about it when it's possible. Suddenly you have a bunch of people who insist on it, like you're gonna have to allow this, otherwise we're not gonna download your app anymore. So it, it does open up a whole realm of complexity that I think will benefit the larger companies and smaller developers are gonna ha just have to learn to live with it.

Mikah Sargent (26:25):
So the next question I'm going to ask has a very easy, and if I ask, could apple do more, the answer of course is yes, they could do more, but more I'm, I'm curious, sort of in the, the, the folks who are sort of coming out against this or saying that it should be more, what does more look like? What, what is an app store that has different payment platforms that works in a way that people would actually want, do we know what that looks like? Because I, I guess what I'm saying is there are complaints about the way that apple is doing this process with a separate app. Binary is, is the, the perfect world one where it's one app binary and there's, you know, the different payment options available there. Do we really know kind of what people want or is it just that there's an overwhelming amount of complaints about whatever comes out in this?

Rene Ritchie (27:21):
Yeah, I think, you know, I could be, you know, Phil Scher God mode for the day, and I got to be in charge of the app store and just do what I wanted you know, spend all of Tim Cook's money. I, I, I think that this is gonna be a level of complexity and regulation that apples shouldn't want any part of you know, there's, they might think that there there's too, the DOJ is too disorganized or the EU is too this stuff, the past, but we've seen with everything from browser ballots to cookie disclosures, to GDPR that a lot of real, or just like the, the legislation that's being tabled right now in the us, there is ridiculous laws that are better, ultimately bad for everybody that get passed all the time. And really getting out ahead of this would be who everybody and gut feeling is that apple shouldn't be doing this at all.

Rene Ritchie (28:07):
They shouldn't be creating these different versions of the apps or the APIs. They should just concede the digital goods market. And I know it's, again, it's easy for me to say, I'm not responsible for shareholders, but just let developers link out through the web. Like not in the app, if you're in the app, you use you know, apple payments or Google payment, but link out to the web and from the web, you can use whatever transaction system you want, PayPal or Stripe or whatever, whatever suits you. So if you are Amazon, you, you know, you press a one button within Comicology or within audible and you're out and you're buying your stuff. And then you're back in the app that would eliminate any complaints, any monopoly, abuse charges, any of these other, it would just render at all moot. And I don't think it would hurt apple that much.

Rene Ritchie (28:52):
I don't think they make that much off of standard digital good transactions. The one sticky point, the one thing that apple and Google have been more protective of than anything is their Smurfberry bucks, their coins in yeah. And their Poca coin, all that stuff, because they're all basically just funded by these free to play addictive casino games. And that, you know, that's the one that even Google wouldn't let you link out to before that is a whole other ball of, of wax, because I think that they would substantially reduce their revenue. But I dare say, I think it would be worth it because it is none of their primary business, neither apple, nor Google depend on that revenue. It's extra billions. And you know, it's easy for me to say, you don't need those extra billions, but why risk all this legal problem, this legal pain and hurt over something that isn't your primary business.

Mikah Sargent (29:39):
Yes, Rene, that was an excellent answer. Of course, always a joy to have you on the show. Folks can head to Ritchie. If they wanna check you out, where else should they go to check you out online on

Rene Ritchie (29:53):
Mac break weekly here every Tuesday where Leo and Andy and Alex, and I get to have just so much fun all the time with you and our ear, which is amazing.

Mikah Sargent (30:01):
Awesome. Rene, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Thanks mic. Bye. Bye. All right. Up next big tech seems to be concerned about the latest round of tech bills in the us. And one of those just got pass under the Senate floor. So we'll dive into that shortly. But first this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by podium. If you own a business, you know, there aren't enough hours in a day to waste playing phone tag, the list of customers you need to reach doesn't get any shorter, especially when businesses good. That's why local businesses everywhere. Turn to podium podium makes every interaction as easy as set a text. So everything that makes your business great can get done faster podium. Isn't just a better way to communicate. It's a better way to do everything. Gathering reviews, collecting payments, and even marketing to your customers.

Mikah Sargent (30:55):
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Mark Gurman (32:09):
Hi, Mikah. Thanks so much for having me appreciate it.

Mikah Sargent (32:11):
Yeah. Glad to have you here today. So I imagine you just saw the, the news that the, that, that one bill is making its way to the Senate floor. But before we get into that, I was hoping that you could kind of give us a basic breakdown of what apple and Google kind of went, oh, these, these bills are there. This, these are the ones we need to talk about. What are these bills? What are they actually involve? What are they trying to change about the way that these companies work?

Mark Gurman (32:39):
So there's at least two, two bills in the works. One of them went to the Senate for today for a process called markup. Whereas senators will take a look at the bills, they'll have their discussions and they'll decide if they want to push the bull bill forward. Obviously we're a very long way for any type of bill coming into law. These bills would have to go through Congress. They would have to go to, you know, both sides, the Senate house, and there's a whole legal process through the us government to get this bill to come to pass. And it seems, you know, in my opinion, right now, fairly unlikely that both sides of Congress, the house and the Senate will come to some sort of agreement to, to get these bills passed. But what apple and Google are saying is that these bills would hurt.

Mark Gurman (33:14):
The fundamental aspects of the apps are related to privacy and security on the iOS side, apple is saying that these apps would allow for side loading, that this bill would make it so that apple would have to allow users to install applications on the iPhone and the iPad from outside of the app store. Obviously that would have two factors. The one factor that apple is really pushing is its privacy standpoint, that this would break some of its privacy controls like app tracking transparency, and the other mechanism, the app store off the privacy. The truth is that this bill, if it allows side loading would also fundamentally upend the business model for the app store, which is their 15 to 30% commission. So it's a mix of both apples pushing the privacy angle, but of course there's the monetary aspects too. All the money that could be lost from apps that are side loaded or installed from other means other than the app store.

Mikah Sargent (33:59):
Yeah. So, and in fact, the there's a great quote in the, in the piece after a tumultuous year that witnessed multiple controversies regarding social media whistleblower allegations of long ignored risks to children and ransomware attacks that hobbled critical infrastructure. It would be ironic if Congress responds by making it much harder to protect the privacy and security of Americans per devices. This is my question, though, from your perspective, as someone who's long been in the tech sector, do these bills in their current form, make it harder to protect. And, you know, I quote here, make it harder to protect the privacy and security of personal devices. This is the argument, but I'm us kind of from your take, is that more of an argument for argument's sake or can you kind of explain to our listeners how these bills rulings could result in, in in more difficulty protecting users' privacy? You did, you did with the, you know, the Apple's newest privacy protection and how does this work on the Google side? And kind of from the security standpoint what are we looking at here? Cuz I know my, one of my brothers loves to jail break his device and I just, I stay very far away from that device. It's like put that thing in a far eight cage if you bring it around me. So I'm certainly concerned about side loading. But why should users be about side loading or not?

Mark Gurman (35:24):
I mean, from, from my perspective, I think apple is a big enough technology company that has the resources to allow some sort of side loading without fundamentally hurting the, the app store ecosystem without fundamentally hurting the privacy of their devices. One thing they could do is they could say, okay, you are allowed to side load applications. Developers are allowed to side load applications, install applications from the web alternative app stores and stuff, but they have to use special frameworks that really work with our privacy controls. So I can see one solution here where they site loading. They allow external apps, they allow installations for the web, but they still have to follow many of the same app store rules, particularly when it comes to privacy, right? Apple, sometimes claims negativity, right where they, they act naive where they're not able to really accomplish these things.

Mark Gurman (36:09):
Right. The truth of the matter is I think Apple's privacy controls could be developed in a sense to really also protect the iPhone and the other devices. <Affirmative>, you know, with sandboxing privacy controls, just like they do on the Mac where they offer the alternative app store option, where you can install applications from the web from anywhere. You'd like, that's why during the epic games trial, what they were trying to do is they were trying to say the Mac is filled with malware and it's not a very private or secure platform. Right. They were basically throwing the Mac better the bus to protect the iPhone ecosystem.

Mikah Sargent (36:36):
Wow. Wow. That's, that's see. That's a very interesting point. Now what do lawmakers say in response to this? And do you feel, does it, does it pass the, the technology grade because you often hear this is a common refrain that our lawmakers, I mean, in some cases it is, it is a concern that our lawmakers don't have technology. They need to make rules and regulations about this. What are lawmakers saying when apple and Google, in some cases say, Hey side loading is going to be a problem. Do they have some sort of response and say, this is why we need to allow this to, to happen. Anyway.

Mark Gurman (37:14):
I mean, some of the comments from lawmakers and other lawsuits and other, you know, legal discussion about this come down to the Mac being a platform that's pretty open and also offered by apple. It comes down to Android and other ecosystems that allow this as well. So they're basically saying that, you know, apple could put these privacy protections through side loading, through non apps or apps if they really wanted to. And I think lawmakers understand that in addition to trying to protect its ecosystem, it's also trying to protect its bottom line.

Mikah Sargent (37:39):
Understood. Now I, I thought this was an interesting thing in the, the piece you talk about apple sending a letter to lawmakers and sort of outlining its concerns with you know, the, the certain diction <laugh> that, that they used Google on the other hand, published a blog post. Now of course there are going to be conversations that aren't necessarily taking place in public, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on these two kind of varying techniques for trying to get across a point, you know, why would Google publish a blog post? Is that actually aim at lawmakers? Is it aim at the public more apple sending a letter directly to lawmakers? One, I can't remember which lawmaker it was, but they said that they had been on the phone with Tim cook earlier than Ted Cruz. Yeah. Ted Cruz. Yeah. Ted Cruz.

Mark Gurman (38:30):
I would guess he spoke to Klobuchar as well and a few other senators, Mike Lee. So David potentially too,

Mikah Sargent (38:36):
These techniques what, what are your kind of thoughts about who these are aimed at and how well they end up shaping things? Is it more about the money in the end or can these things kind of be swayed either via a public opinion or by communi with the, the legislators?

Mark Gurman (38:56):
I think, I think it's a mix. I mean, I think you really need to get public opinion in there. You need to get opinion from third party developers that exist today. You need to get opinion from people who contribute to the ecosystem. You need, you need to hear opinions of the companies. You need to hear opinions of the users. And I think both companies are actually just doing that, right. Apple didn't post a letter on their website because they don't wanna public that with, you know, Congress on But they clearly have been communicating with them. They have developers, you know, testifying for them at different trials and stuff. They're probably putting centers and stuff in, in touch with different developers and other people who work in the ecosystem, different consumers using data to show the benefits. So I think both companies are, are essentially doing the same thing.

Mark Gurman (39:35):
It just, on the surface, it looks quite a little bit, bit, bit different. And this is, you know, one of the unique situations where both apple and Google are on the same team here, right? They, none of them want to have legislation backing their app stores and really controlling their ecosystems. Right. They want to be completely free to operate their businesses, how they so choose. And I truly think that's why these bills are not gonna end up being enacted into law. Right? You have Democrats on one side, you have Republicans on the other side. And obviously on the Republican side, there's different beliefs about how businesses should be run. They typically lean on the side of let the business owner run the business the way they would like to run it. And so maybe because of that, just the nature of the Republican party, right. Maybe that will, you know, prevent the, the bill from being enacted into law, but obviously the Democrat side and those working on, on the bills themselves do make very good points. I personally think there could be a, a, a, a system where apple does allow side loading and app installations from outside the app store. Well, keeping the app, the app sandbox to keeping them safe and keeping users private.

Mikah Sargent (40:33):
Now, one of the things that may surprise people when they first hear this is that there are quite a few small tech companies that are on board with these acts. And then once you kind of learn a little bit more about why it, it makes a bit, a bit more sense, but I was hoping that you could explain why there are some small tech companies who are for these bills and what they hope to gain out of these B being enacted.

Mark Gurman (41:00):
I mean, at a fundamental level, apple takes a 15 to 30% cut. So if you're an app developer and you have the means to really support these bills and try to push these bills forward through Congress and the house and Senate I think that from a business standpoint, that's a smart thing to do, right? You wouldn't have to really abide by all the app store review guidelines. You may be able to, and apples charges and businesses business. They wanna save that 15% to 30%, right? If you're an app developer and you make a million dollars a year, right. 30%, that means you're left with you know, let $300,000 less before taxes. So obviously from a financial standpoint it makes a lot of sense for them want to push these bills forward and do anything they can to sort of break away from the apple commission structure.

Mikah Sargent (41:39):
Do we think we'll hear anything from the other kind of big companies Amazon and meta AKA Facebook, or is this primarily Hey, this is apple and Google's problem. I guess my Microsoft could even be thrown in there a little bit. Will we hear more from those companies, do you think as these these make their way through, or as you pointed out, you know, the likelihood of these actually being enacted is perhaps low enough that these companies don't really need to throw in their throw down their gauntlets.

Mark Gurman (42:12):
Maybe very surprised that these laws were, were passed, but at the same time, I think apple and Google have a real stronghold or real true duopoly on the app store market and the impact on Microsoft and some of the other developers Facebook would be very slim meta slash Facebook, whatever you wanna call it has taken the anti apple and Google approach. The AppSource. So, you know, there could be a world where Facebook is sort of supporting the bills and say, Hey, we'll work with Congress to, you know, adjust our, our guidelines to, to get this bill and really go against the grant against apple on Google on this one.

Mikah Sargent (42:43):
Interesting mark. Germin. I wanna thank you so much for taking some time today to chat with me. Thank you. Fantastic conversation. If folks want to follow you online and check out your highly quoted newsletter, where should they go to do so?

Mark Gurman (42:59):
That's funny. Thank you. I'm at Urman M a R K G R M a N. As you can see there and you can follow my newsletter power on you. Wanna go newsletters. You can power, power on and subscribe, or it's in the URL on my twittter account as well.

Mikah Sargent (43:17):
Awesome. Thanks so much, mark.

Mark Gurman (43:19):
Thank you. See you next time.

Mikah Sargent (43:22):
Yes. All right. Up next. I share my story of the week with, with all of you before I can do that, though. I do need to take a break because I wanna tell you about imperfect foods. How about a three for one new year's resolution ready, reduce food waste, save time on grocery shopping and eat more fresh and delicious food. That's a lot, but it's not too good to be true because you can try imperfect foods and cross those three off your list. Here is a cringeworthy step at to start 2022, each year 35%, 35% of the food supply goes unsold or uneaten in the us imperfect foods is working to turn this around by sourcing foods that would otherwise fall through the cracks of our food system. Combating climate change feel is big and overwhelming. I mean, what can one person do? There is an easy and delicious way to make an impact.

Mikah Sargent (44:21):
And it's called imperfect foods. Imperfect foods is a grocery delivery service offering an entire line of sustainable groceries that taste delicious and reduce waste just by embracing the natural imperfections in food, visit imperfect to see if they deliver in your area. That's the most important thing. Once you sign up, you can personalize your weekly grocery order with fresh seasonal produce pantry staples and yummy snacks. And let me tell you, they're not lying about those snacks being yummy. Plus your order will arrive on the day each week, which is handy because it makes it easy to build a stress-free routine. On average imperfect foods, customers save six to eight pounds of food with every order. And unlike on demand delivery companies imperfect delivers weekly by neighborhood. This is a unique model that produces 25 to 75 send fewer emissions than individual trips to the grocery store.

Mikah Sargent (45:15):
Plus, you can say byebye to that packaging guilt, imperfect foods is the only national grocery delivery company that makes it easy to return your packaging. After every order I fought, oh my goodness. I cannot wait to try imperfect foods, right? So I hopped, oh, they're available in my neighborhood. I signed up and I think it was the day before or two days before. I can't quite remember. You go on and you select what you want. You know, they sort of give you a, a list of things that they will send you. And I was like, you know what, all this is great. I'm just gonna leave it as is. I'm just, I'm good with that. So I got the notification that they were out for delivery. I looked, and they've got this fun little map with the, the delivery truck on it.

Mikah Sargent (45:58):
So you can kinda see where it is as it's going along. And then it came to my door and I opened the door as they were pulling away. And it was an actual imperfect foods truck. I just thought maybe they used some delivery service or something. No, it was an imperfect foods truck. And that was kind of fun. I got my box, I brought it inside and I'm pulling things out. Ooh, some rainbow carrots some, some zucchini all this stuff. Yummy, yummy, yummy. And then I get near the bottom and I grab this, oh my gosh, it's so heavy. I pull it out. It's a whole pumpkin pie. <Laugh> they add a whole pumpkin pie in the box. I don't know what I did to get that, but I'm so glad I did. I was pumped a whole dad gum, pumpkin pie in the box.

Mikah Sargent (46:41):
There's so much fun stuff in there, along with just getting like your regular produce. Honestly, it's just, it's so worth it. Right now. Imperfect foods is offering our listeners 20% off your first four orders when go to imperfect and use the promo code T N w. Everyone should just go give this a try, give it a try 20% off your first four orders. That's up to an $80 When you use the promo code T N w you've gotta use that code T N w to let them know that in this case I sent you for that pumpkin pie or whatever that happens to be packed to the box, join the with the promo code T N w. Thank you, imperfect foods for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly and my pantry and my, I appreciate it. All right. It is time for my story of the week.

Mikah Sargent (47:37):
And I am telling the story to all of you. I thought this was a really fascinating thing. Because for once it was concerns about 5g, that actually makes sense. It wasn't that G is implanting alien eggs in our heads, or 5g resonates on the same harmonic frequency as the vaccine. They're VI thereby hypnotizing us into believing that bill gates is our forever overlord. No, in this case, 5g is causing flights to be great rounded. What, this is kind of a, an interesting story for multiple reasons. Not only because again, the 5g is real, but also because <laugh>, you get to see how bureaucracy sometimes can be. So dad gum ineffective. So at and T and Verizon were sets to turn on their new 5g signals all on Tuesday. So that actually, I, I think it was Wednesday, not Tuesday, cuz I'm pretty sure it was January 19th, but in any case this week, as we're recording the show, they were set to turn on new 5g signals, but they had to stop from doing it around certain airports at and T was wanting to turn it on in Austin, in Dallas, Fort worth and Houston and Chicago and Detroit in Jacksonville and Orlando.

Mikah Sargent (48:51):
And in south Florida, Verizon, I can't read that list because it wants to launch in 1700 cities around the us by the end of January. But here's what happened. They said, okay, it's finally time to do this. We're finally ready to do this. And the FAA said I think we can't do this yet. Actually. mind you they've had two years to get things ready to testify. 5G was gonna be an issue or not. And instead of doing anything about it, they rested, what does it rest on their laurels? Yes. They sat on their hands and had not done anything. So as it came time for these carriers to launch the 5g, they were asked, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, please don't cuz we haven't actually done that thing that we were supposed to do. So you may be wondering why is it that 5g could be an issue?

Mikah Sargent (49:47):
Well, this is the thing they don't necessarily know 100 for sure that it will be an issue, but the risk of it being an issue is enough. Because again, these are airplanes. I mean, you can't mess around with airplanes. There are tools that the airlines use that involve radio signals that could interfere, excuse me, rather 5g. Could I with the radar altimeters that aircraft use to make low visibility landing? So I believe San Francisco the SFO airport was one of the airports that was involved in this kind of, Hey, don't, don't activate around here because in places where it's more likely to be foggy and in places where there are the most kind of Chicago is one where there are quite a few carrier planes. Those areas are part of this. What the FAA is calling buffer zones.

Mikah Sargent (50:46):
So this is wild. The FAA basically said, Hey, we're setting up these buffer zones. Y'all, can't activate your 5g in these areas because if you do then it's going to cause interference and you could potentially run into some issues. Air India, the Emirates, Japan airlines, and Ana canceled some of their flights in advance. There were some other flights that were canceled Biden actually during the press conference said quote, this agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel cargo operations and our economic recovery while allowing more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled. So that was the agreement between the FAA and these carriers. But what's fascinating is, you know, that didn't touch on the fact that they've had quite a bit of time to try and get this worked out ahead of time. So we'll start to see more of these get turned on over time, we'll see more of those ones that are in buffer zones get turned on.

Mikah Sargent (51:49):
And I'm interested to see, you know, if these, if these airlines that were still kind of concerned, the ones that ended up kind of grounding flights, if they're going to experience an issue with this scooter X and the chat has some, some quotes that I'll read here, because I think that it's interesting. The FAA issued new approvals Thursday that's today. I believe that allow an estimated 78% of the us commercial fleet to perform low visibility landings at airports where wireless companies deployed 5g C band that's the, the new 5g bands that they're trying to turn on. This now includes some regional jets airplane models with one of the 13 cleared all Tim include all Boeing 7 1 7 7 3 7 7 4 7 7 5 7. I'm not gonna read all of those and Airbus models, some embryo models and 190 regional jets. So there are quite a few that can do this just fine.

Mikah Sargent (52:45):
It's the obsolete radar altimeters that are issue. Thank you, scooter X. And that means perhaps those airlines that grounded their planes have those obsolete those obsolete radars. And that could be why they decided to ground those flights in case they ended up touching down in areas where that would be an issue, but ultimately the carriers are a little upset because they're like, and I had a quote from them as well from the verge. It says in a statement to the verge at and T expressed frustration at the FAAS failure to quote utilize the two years, they've had to responsibly plan for this deployment, as well as its inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5g technology without disrupting aviation services. So not only are they accusing the FAA of, again, resting on its laurels, I think is the term I keep forgetting.

Mikah Sargent (53:46):
But also they're saying, look, there were 40 other countries out there that did this. No problem. And y'all, can't get this right. What's going on here? Why are we having to wait for this? Especially with Verizon's 1700 cities they're trying to to get going. So I'll be interested if the Johnny jet, the travel guru has anything to say about this on Saturdays, the tech guy as we hear about flights being grounded for the 5g signals and I'm sure it won't be long before my great uncle. Jim Bob sends me some Facebook posts about how 5g is also causing flights to crash. As he, as he learns on Facebook to, to go along with the other conspiracies, Jim Bob, keep your, keep your Facebook posts. Folks that brings us to the end of this episode of Tech News Weekly.

Mikah Sargent (54:44):
I hope you had fun today. As we talked to three great guests Jason Howell will be back next week. So he and I will be Heming the show at that time. Tech News Weekly publishes every Thursday at twitt TV slash TN w so you can head there to check it out. That's how you subscribe to the show and audio and video formats. In fact, going to, to it, to out TV slash T w you'll see, subscribe to audio, subscribe to video, and then you can choose your provider. So that's apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, YouTube, all those different places. We try to be everywhere. You are. Another place we are is in the ad free space. If you would like to get all of twittter shows ad free, well, you should check out club twit for seven bucks a month. You're going to get every single twit show with no ads.

Mikah Sargent (55:32):
You'll get access to the exclusive twit plus bonus feed that has extra content. You won't find anywhere else. That's behind the scenes before the show, after the show, but also AMAs. Now with Andy and NACO with Mary Jo Foley, Steve Gibson with Mikah Sargent, whoever that is I believe Leo and Lisa did one, there've been quite a few of these that have made their way into the feed now. So you don't always have to tune in live if you're not able to make it live to the to the showing, you can also just check that out on the twit plus bonus cont and feed. And Georgia Dow is up next on the AMA, so that one's gonna be a fun one. And then you also get access to the members only discord server. If you're wondering what the heck a discord server is.

Mikah Sargent (56:19):
Well, if you've ever used Microsoft's teams or slack, you'll be familiar with discord whenever you join. It's just a place to communicate with your fellow club, twit members, and then also those of us here at twit. And then I should mention that some folks wanted to just support some of their favorite shows directly, and weren't really interested in all that extra stuff. There's a way to do that. You can subscribe to individual shows on apple podcasts for 2 99. You go in, you find the audio version of Tech News Weekly, and there'll be a button you can click to subscribe to audio. And when you do for 2 99 a month, you'll get that ad free. If you wanna tweet at me or follow me online, I'm at Mica Sergeant on many of social media network, or you can into, C I or out links to the places I'm most active online.

Mikah Sargent (57:06):
Woo. You can check me out on Tuesdays with Rosemary orchard for iOS today. And in the future, I'll be rejoining Leo Laport on Saturdays for the tech guy, the radio show heard around the world. Thanks of course, to John Ashley, our E D and editor for running the boards today and making the show happen later to Ashley from continuity, we'll be helping make sure that the show is polished and ready to be uploaded. And of course, Burke who handles the calls with our with our guests to make sure that they are ready to go for the show. And also I'm sure does a lot of other running around to make sure things are going as they should. Of course, we will see you next time with Jason Howell back on Tech News Weekly, goodbye

Jason Howell (57:55):
Android is constantly evolving. And if you are part of the Android faithful, then you'll be just as excited about it as I am. I'm Jason Howell host of all about Android, along with my co-hosts Florence ion and Ron Richards, where every week we cover the news, we cover the hardware and we cover the apps that are driving the Android ecosystem. Plus, we invite people who are writing about Android, talking about Android and making Android onto the show every Look for all about Android, right?

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