Chinese Developers File Antitrust Complaint Against Apple

A group of Chinese app developers has filed a complaint against Apple, alleging that the company had violated antitrust regulations in its App Store. And the complaint is only the latest sign of Apple’s increasing trouble in the country.

The complaint, which was filed with Chinese regulators, accuses Apple of anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior. The group of developers allege that Apple charges excessive fees for in-app purchases, doesn’t give explanations or details for arbitrary app removal, and doesn’t respond to queries in Chinese — putting local developers are a disadvantage — according to The Wall Street Journal.

The case was filed by Beijing-based law firm Dare & Sure, and sent to two separate Chinese regulatory entities: the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry & Commerce. “Steve Jobs represented the American dream. But Apple’s unequal treatment of China’s young developers stops them from realizing their China dream,” Dare & Sure’s Lin Wei said in a statement.

Apple began cracking down on illegitimate apps earlier this year, which resulted in the removal of over 58,000 Chinese apps. According to the developer’s complaint, Chinese app makers never received sufficient explanations for their apps being removed — and were often left waiting months before they were able to get their legitimate apps back onto the marketplace. Additionally, the developers allege that Apple takes too high of a cut for in-app purchases — around 30 percent. In China, in-app purchases on mobile platforms like Weibo are widely used for everyday transactions — from buying public transit tickets to ordering food.

China is an extremely important market for Apple, and specifically, its App Store. Apple made more money in China via its digital marketplace than any other country, according to research firm IDC. Apple’s iOS also has an edge over Android — its largest competitor — as Google Play is blocked within China.

An even bigger issue, Lin contends, is that Apple’s App Store doesn’t appear to have legal registration in China, making it technically illegal for the company to provide internet content within the country, according to The Financial Times. Apple, for its part, says that it does comply with all “local laws and regulations.” Despite that, analysts and tech executives are predicting that “Apple’s troubles [in China] have just started.” Specifically, as the company shifts from being, primarily, a hardware manufacturer to more of a content provider. The Chinese government notoriously restricts the flow of information and content, which could bring Apple’s Services business into further conflict with local regulatory bodies.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has already compromised on several issues in China. Last month, Apple removed all major VPN apps in the country in accordance with new Chinese regulations that required the anonymity platforms to be explicitly approved and licensed by the government. The company also recently opened its first data center in China, allowing it to store user information locally.

[Source”cnbc”]

Latest Microsoft updates erase Word customizations, can break Edge, Outlook, File Explorer

FixProblem1

An investigation by Ed Bott casts doubt on KB3xxxx being the problem, and points instead to an Office update that affected Office 2010, 2013, and 2016; the Windows 10 update still affects Edge, Outlook, and File Explorer. We stand by what we said about the model Microsoft is using. The original article continues below.

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 cumulative update, KB 3124200, dropped last week, but clearly needed more time to bake. While initial reports suggested that the update would fix some issues with WiFi connections dropping out, the latest cumulative update is causing some significant problems.

Reports indicate that in at least some cases, KB 3124200 nukes all Microsoft Word customizations, including custom templates, AutoText, macros, envelope addresses, autocorrect, and AutoFormat settings. It also reverts any custom spell check options you may have stored. The problem is serious enough that Microsoft has published its own KB on fixing the issue, KB 3129969.

 

The problem occurs because the latest update accidentally renames the old file where such information was stored (Normal.dotm) to one of several alternatives: “Normal.dotm.old, NormalPre, NormalPre15, NormalOld, or OldNormal.” That’s a direct quote from Microsoft’s article on resolving the problem, which raises a significant question: Why doesn’t Microsoft, which wrote the patch that broke its own software, know what the backup file name is actually called? It would be one thing if the files had version numbers that corresponded to the user’s Office version, like “Normal13.dotm.old”, “Normal10.dotm.old”, etc. Instead, we get word salad.

The problems aren’t limited to wholesale replacement of Word customizations. WindowsReport.com has compiled a list of problems users have encountered with the latest version of Windows 10, including the Edge browser refusing to close, Explorer, Outlook 2016, and Calculator all refusing to start, and the Windows Store, Calendar, and Maps applications all refusing to run.

The new update policy isn’t working

When Satya Nadella took over at Microsoft, one of his changes was to radically overhaul how Microsoft handled QA (Quality Assurance). Previously, Microsoft had roughly twice as many QA testers as developers working in the Operating Systems Group. After the layoffs, that ratio is reportedly 1:1. Developers are now expected to do much of the code testing that was previously outsourced to other groups, even if they don’t have much experience in testing code.

Combine that shift with the new, mandatory update policies and you get the current situation. Because Windows 10 now forces updates by default, the system will continue to download and attempt to apply KB 3124200, even if the update is repeatedly hanging on install or having other problems. Because all updates are now rolled into a single package, there’s no way for a user who wants the WiFi fix KB 3124200 includes butdoesn’t want to risk their Word customizations to install one and not the other.

For all their decades of close cooperation, Microsoft seems to have missed a lesson Intel learned 10 years ago. The entire reason Intel uses a tick-tock model in which it shifts to a new node, then deploys a new architecture, is because it’s extremely difficult to implement a new node and a new architecture at the same time. With Windows 10, Microsoft radically shifted both its software implementation model and its update policies simultaneously.

The nature of these problems is that they affect a minority of people. I have no doubt that the majority of Windows 10 users have had nothing but smooth sailing. While I use Windows 7 for my personal machine, I’ve deployed Windows 10 on multiple testbeds and had no problems with it to-date. But if you’re stuck in the minority that’s having a problem, these changes and the opacity with which they’re made is infuriating. It’s become far more difficult to diagnose the cause of these issues and even harder to prevent the software from reinstalling itself (or simply not installing in the first place).

Microsoft needs to either drastically overhaul its QA, return additional flexibility and customization options to average users, or both. The just-trust-us model isn’t working. And I’d have a great deal more faith in Microsoft’s willingness to fix these issues if the company wasn’t relentlessly pushing holdouts to adopt W10 as opposed to fixing theproblems with its distribution and testing model.

 

 

[Source: Extreme Tech]