Tech Digest daily round up: Apple charged by EU for breaking competition rules

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Apple has been charged with breaking EU competition rules over the way it runs its App Store. European Commission anti-trust regulator Margrethe Vestager tweeted that “consumers are losing out”. It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation. Apple faces a large fine and may be forced to change its policies if its arguments do not convince regulators. Previously it has denied any wrong-doing. “Apple’s rules distort competition in the market for music streaming by raising the costs of competing music streaming app developers. This in turn leads to higher prices for consumers for their in-app music subscriptions on iOS devices,” an EC statement said. In response Apple said that it did not receive any commission on 99% of Spotify’s subscribers. BBC News 

The world’s largest plane has completed its second test flight, marking a step forward for next-generation air launch technology. With a wingspan stretching to 117 metres, wider than the length of a football pitch, the Stratolaunch plane rose to 14,000 feet and reached a top speed of 199mph test flight on Thursday.  “We are airborne,” the company tweeted at around 8.30am local time, as the plane’s six-engines propelled it into the sky above the Southern California desert. The plane’s 28 wheels touched down just over three hours later.  Stratolaunch was started in 2011 by Burt Rutan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away before the plane’s first test flight took place in April 2019. 

 

Germany’s Daimler Truck AG and Sweden’s Volvo Group say they plan to jointly manufacture hydrogen fuel cells for trucks in Europe starting in 2025 and called on European Union policymakers to boost incentives for climate-neutral technologies. The companies said Thursday their fuel cell joint venture, named cellcentric, is carrying out preparatory work at a facility in Esslingen, Germany and that a decision on a location for large-scale series production will be announced in 2022. Daimler Truck and Volvo said they plan to start with customer tests of fuel-cell electric trucks in about three years and to launch large-scale production by the end of the decade. Associated Press 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s personal phone number was publicly available on the internet for 15 years, raising concerns that his phone could have been vulnerable to hacking by foreign agents. The prime minister’s number was attached to the bottom of a 2006 press release that was published when he was the shadow education minister. The press release, which was promoting a pamphlet written by Johnson, invited readers to contact Johnson “directly” on his House of Commons landline or on his personal number. The presence of the number was first reported by Popbitch, a UK gossip newsletter. The press release was subsequently deleted. Business Insider 

A minister warned on Friday of a “massive sudden increase” in fraudsters targeting people with phishing scams in calls and texts to mobile phones. Health minister Lord Bethell stressed they included calls purporting to come from “BT”. Other people have also experienced criminals calling on landlines pretending to be banks and sending emails and texts bogusly claiming to be from package delivery companies. In response to one person tweeting if anyone was experiencing “off-the-scale levels” of mobile phone spam/phishing, both calls and texts, Lord Bethell messaged back: “Massive sudden increase. And those calls from “BT” who want me to download safety software urgently.” The National Cyber Security Centre has guidance on “dealing with suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages” here. Evening Standard

Chris Price
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