Tech This Week: Crashes of all sorts

|July 2, 2016 0
One’s app may be another’s eye-sore. One crash may be all that anti-autonomous-vehicles needed

INDIA: Apple and Spotify are at it this time. The skirmish has begun.

And so have many questions that surround how the app and app-store landscape is changing swiftly.

When Spotify pointed a finger at Apple for restraining an update of its service on the App Store, it was immediately a question of whether the latter was trying to favor its own music product. But gradually, the lens is moving to other areas. Even when Apple’s team responded saying that Spotify was seeking preferential treatment.

In fact, Apple’s letter, in turn, criticized Spotify for publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths after having benefited enormously from association with Apple’s app store (160 million downloads since its joining). It even goes on to underscore that Apple’s competing has never influenced how it treats ‘successful’ (mind you) competitors like Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Tidal, Pandora or others who distribute digital music on the app store.

But the letter-exchanging between the two companies’ counsels aside, the industry is wondering whether it’s about the revenue-cut Apple takes its App Store sales, specially in wake of thinning phone sales numbers that make it crucial to veer towards options like iCloud, App Store, Apple Music etc. There is also the debate over the emerging model of subscription-based apps and the dilemma for developers as they stare at new trends and opportunities that native apps, platform-free apps vs. platforms like Google or Apple, and revenue-spinning features present.

Notably, Spotify did seem to be using high pricing strategies on such app stores compared to what it charges on subscriptions. And that should make platforms like Apple look for its own native ways of making money and keeping traction, right?

Apps continued to steal attention this week. Good for some, not so good for others. The Supreme Court of India rejected a petition that sought banning of Whatsapp in India due to national security fears that the new encryption might spur.

In another corner, flipboard-style paper Facebook app designed particularly like a newspaper, emulating folding and unfolding of articles, and used for collating news and disseminating it across categories; is off from iOs app store. Copyright tussles with another app-maker and unimpressive traction could be the easy reasons to guess for the bow-out.

With so much happening in the app-world, who knows what’s afoot?

But the feet of auto-pilot cars need to watch out for sharp bends ahead. This week, the fatal crash of a Tesla electric car has caught a lot of well-deserved ruckus. Partly for Tesla going ahead with an autopilot feature still in beta testing, and partly for the conspicuous lack of adequate regulation that this category warrants.

Whether the person inside the car made some mistakes or the car did, it was a sad cost to pay for any error. Specially as regulations for this genre of vehicles are still either absent or half-baked, or worse, fuzzy with lot of room for holes.

Tesla responded by saying the technology is still in public beta phase and that as the technology evolves, the probability of injury will keep decreasing.

We can only keep hoping.

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