There is only one story in tech right now and that is about Apple knocking Fortnite — and specifically, it’s developer, Epic Games — off the App Store. To many, this is just a spat about a game that they just aren’t interested in. But the issues raised are much wider and will impact every iPad and iPhone user. Here’s a breakdown of why the Apple v Epic Games Battle Royale matters.

What is it all about?

Epic Games recently decided to start selling Fortnite’s in-game currency — v-Bucks — directly to gamers using other card transaction providers rather than using the Apple App Store’s purchasing mechanism. On the one hand, this is much cheaper for Epic Games because they do not have to pay the App Store’s 30% fees and, on the other, Apple misses out on 30% fees. Epic Games decided to pass on the lion’s share of this saving to users. Apple says this is not allowed under its rules. Epic wants the App Store to allow for more freedom.

Back in 2016, Britain voted (with generous help from overseas benefactors) to leave the European Union and, ever since, verciferous pro-European remainers have tried to come up with ways to preserve their rights — and there is one workable solution that could just work.

Some months ago, a proposal was put forward to allow all British citizens to retain their European citizenship on a voluntary and associate basis. This was taken up, in typically generous style, by Belgian MEP, Guy Verhofstadt. …

Hashtags are not always machine readable — and that excludes people.

I cannot think of anything less innocuous or ubiquitous than the good ol’ hashtag. They are literally #everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TV programmes, advertising hoardings — there is barely a single facet of communication these days that does not include a helpful hashtag.

Even this article. Let’s make the hashtag #GetHashtagsRight — there! We’ve got a hashtag!

Now, to understand why we are getting them wrong, I’d like to take a example from the undisputed king of the hashtag, British MP and grandchild of Winston Churchill, Sir Nicholas Soames or, as he is known on Twitter @NSoames. …

Since its establishment in 1922, the funding of the BBC has been a source of debate and criticism. While the emergence of Netflix has pushed the discussion about a compulsory TV licence in the UK to become more urgent, it is the decision to cut free licences for the over 75s that has really magnified the issue — despite there being a very simple answer.

It was always going to be a controversial decision to can universal licences for over 75s. It is no coincidence that politicians target this demographic — one that they see as is driven by fear, easily manipulated and, crucially, one that turns out to vote. …

The Trump trade war continues, along with his targeting of Huawei for undisclosed ‘security’ reasons. But by forcing Google to stop Huawei using Android and to use its own operating system instead, he has shown how little he understands tech or security — or trade?

You would not want to be Google’s spokesman having to deal with their recent forced decision and it is unsurprising that the best they could come up with was “We were only following orders”. Or more specifically, “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications.”

The order they are complying with is Trump’s recent decision to have Huawei placed on the ‘Entity List’ — thereby greatly restricting (to zero) what trade US companies can do with the Chinese tech giant. …

As the candidates for the British Tory Party lined up for the One Nation group’s hustings, each was being careful not to upset a key caucus within the party — but with a party so divided, that is almost impossible. Naturally, it was Johnson who used the classic tactic of using a half truth.

The former Foreign Secretary and darling of the populist hard right wing of the party told MPs, “We [The Conservative Party] will not be forgiven if we do not deliver Brexit on October 31”.

Photo by the Estonia Presidency of the EU team (EU2017EE)

Brexit is the defining political issue for a generation in the UK and it would have been impossible for the man who led the Leave campaign not to have addressed it. Indeed, the whole debacle only surfaced due to decades of splits within the Conservative Party — splits which were meant to be overcome by the holding of the referendum. …

While the need to tackle online extremism is irresistible, some leaders have a problem backing it — because they are part of the problem.

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, a group of world leaders came together with tech giants to make warm statements and try to agree a plan of action to tackle online extremism. Australia, Germany, India and Sweden are just some who have backed action, alongside a roll call of the biggest and best of online businesses including Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Microsoft.

However, some were absent from the summit in Paris, France. Most notably, Twitter’s agent provocateur and President of the United States, Donald Trump. …

Remainers are heading for a massive defeat — all of their own making. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Since the results of the Brexit referendum were announced, there has been a steady and ongoing shift in the mood of the UK electorate. Polls are now showing a lead for remaining in the EU, with the lead up to 60/40 in some surveys. However, the Remain camp are headed for a monumental loss in the European elections because they have not learnt the lessons of the referendum.

Failure to unite

What is clear from the polling is that, if you add up all the Remain votes, they massively outnumber the votes for the Brexit Party and that is before we get into a discussion about whether Labour is a Brexit party or not (SPOILER ALERT: It’s first priority is to Brexit under Labour’s terms). …

WARNING — this article addresses online abuse and contains references and language that are NSFW.

Some things go so beyond the pale, that it is difficult to let them go and the abuse being directed at Jess Phillips by the far right and some within her party is firmly within that category — but the response from Twitter is just mind-blowing. Actually, it is so bad that it makes a mockery of Twitter’s abuse policies.

When Carl Benjamin first made his comment that he would ‘not even rape’ Jess Phillips, the responses ranged from understandable outrage to ‘if we ignore him, he might go away’. However, what was not entirely predicted by the sentient was that it would embolden others to take increasingly strident and abusive positions against the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. …

President Trump’s insecurities don’t make Huawei a spy

Over the past few months, Chinese tech behemoth Huawei has faced a maelstrom of bad news that would have killed off a smaller company. From allegations of corruption to being part of a Chinese state surveillance network keeping tabs on the world, Huawei have been accused of everything and anything. But what is behind the storm and why do I feel like buying a Huawei mobile phone more than ever before?

Make no mistake, Huawei make some fantastic mobile and tech devices. They are behind some of the world’s highest high tech — core infrastructure at the bleeding edge of electronic innovation. For those of us with an eye on future consumer tech in the European consumer market, the past decade has seen Huawei go from an outfit that seemed unknown outside China to a major must-have brand in what seemed like a relatively static mobile tech market in the west. …


James Barisic

Entrepreneur. Lecturer in Digital Business at the Grenoble Ecole de Management. Digital. Political. European. Keeper of chickens & rabbits. Views my own.

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