🍏 Apple vs. Developers


August 30, 2021

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The Hustle

Kanye West had a busy past few days. His new album “Donda” came out on Sunday and — oh yeah — he lit himself on fire during a listening party at Chicago’s Soldier Field Thursday night.

Today’s rundown:

  • Apple’s lawsuit: The iPhone maker will pay $100m to developers who paid “excessive commissions” in the App Store.
  • Sweetgreen: The ~$1.8B salad-making giant acquired Spyce, a startup known for its salad-making machines.
  • Digits: Interesting stats on dating nomads, pumpkin spice, robocalls, and more.

Let’s do it.

THE BIG IDEA
Apple logo

Apple settles an App Store lawsuit. What’s next?

It’s a full-time job keeping up with Apple’s corporate beefs.

The iPhone maker is facing legal heat from Epic Games (“Fortnite” maker), Match Group (Tinder owner), Facebook, and others for how it runs the App Store.

At least one battle is almost over

Last week, Apple settled a federal case — launched in 2019 — that charged the tech giant with monopoly power over its App Store.

The company agreed to pay $100m to US developers who paid “excessive commissions” on their apps between June 2015 and April 2021, per The Wall Street Journal.

The settlement is only for developers making less than $1m per year, and the headline number is sad when you break it down: Some may receive up to $30k, but 74% will get $500 or less.

Apple will also have to loosen restrictions…

… on “anti-steering rules,” which dictate what developers can do with user data. One big change: Developers can email users about alternative and (typically) cheaper payment methods outside of the walled iOS garden.

Apple still won’t let developers post those cheaper options inside the app, though.

Also unchanged: the App Store’s take rate on subscriptions (Year 1 = 30%, Year 2 = 15%) and in-app purchases (15% for <$1m and 30% for >$1m).

The App Store has 30m registered developers

And 1B+ customers spent $72B+ on apps in 2020, per WSJ. (Translation: $100m is a drop in the bucket.)

The settlement awaits court approval and developers can opt out. Many might, as accepting the terms means waiving any future legal action for similar App Store complaints.

Next up: Epic Games — which sued Apple over its in-app purchase system — is awaiting judgment. They’re probably hoping for a slightly better outcome.

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SNIPPETS

The city of Chicago is suing DoorDash and GrubHub for deceiving customers, including a “bait-and-switch” move that shows a low delivery fee only to add more costs later. #ecommerce-retail

Climate change is warming Atlantic waters and increasing storm/hurricane activity, per The New York Times. #clean-energy

Clubhouse will add spatial audio effects to “make users feel like they’re really in the room,” per TechCrunch. #emerging-tech

Fun fact: All the gold in Fort Knox buys only 1% of Bitcoin’s total supply, per Forbes. #fintech-cryptocurrency

The new Apple Watch will likely feature a new shape and interface design. #big-tech

Food Tech
robot salad bar

Sweetgreen bought another salad eatery known for its robot cooks

Lunchtime favorite Sweetgreen might be getting a robot or 2. The salad chain just purchased Spyce — a restaurant startup known for its automated kitchen — for an unknown sum, per CNBC.

A tale of 2 salad spinners

Both fast-casual eateries specialize in salads and bowls, but Sweetgreen is a salad behemoth.

  • Sweetgreen has grown to 130+ US locations since launching in DC in 2007. It’s currently valued at ~$1.8B and filed for its IPO in June.
  • Spyce has 2 locations in Boston and has raised $24.9m.

But Spyce also has robots

Spyce was founded by a group of MIT students in 2015. It uses recipes from acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud, though the cooking process has always been automated.

  • An earlier iteration used rotating woks that tumbled and cooked ingredients. Human employees then added toppings and garnishes.
  • Now, Spyce uses an “Infinite Kitchen” that sears, steams, and assembles meals by itself in ~2-3 minutes — a plus as customers seek contact-free options amid the pandemic.

Allie Weinstock, Sweetgreen’s PR and communications manager, called the acquisition an “investment in our future.” For now, Sweetgreen is focusing on updating Spyce’s tech and developing a new product and concept that will work with Sweetgreen as it scales.

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Free Resource

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By The Numbers
Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice really should be a year-round thing (Source: George Dolgikh / Getty Images)

Digits: Nomads are in love, and apparently it’s pumpkin spice season

1) Nomads are feeling the love. Between Feb. 1 and July 1, Tinder mentions of “nomad” increased by 23% in profiles, with “RV” and “van” seeing 8% upticks.

2) PSL season already? Morning Consult found 25% of US adults think late August is the perfect time to sell pumpkin spice products, up from 19% in 2020.

3) By law, the US government oversees the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest to decide on the image for the stamp, which waterfowl hunters must purchase for hunting. Since 1934, the annual contest has generated $1.1B+ for conservation efforts.

4) The FCC issued a $5.1m+ fine against John Burkman and Jacob Wohl for making 1.1k+ robocalls spreading misinformation during the 2020 election.

5) Brace for impact (AKA upset children). Consumers should anticipate price increases of 5%-10% for toys this holiday season, according to industry experts.

6) Cazoo, Britain’s Carvana, raised $1B+ in a SPAC merger on a quest to grow throughout Europe. Serious question: Do they retrofit their car horns to sound like kazoos?

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AROUND THE WEB

🚀On this day: In 1983, US Air Force Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford became the 1st Black person to travel to space as an astronaut aboard the 3rd Challenger mission.

⚰️Wow: Alicia Williams has amassed 2.4m TikTok followers by showing how she cleans old graves, revealing the unique histories hidden beneath years of grime.

🦅Wild story: Hey, who would win in a fight between an eagle and a drone? (It’s the eagle.)

😴Chill out: Need a break? This website challenges you to sit still and do absolutely nothing for 2 minutes.

💌Useful: Whether you’ve got a goal in mind, an idea you want to save for later, or just some random thoughts, you can use this site to send an email to future you.

📱How to: Should you upgrade to the latest model of your phone or wait? The New York Times has some tips to decide.

Meme of the day
app store meme

Source: MemeCenter

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