Apple News Blanks The News

When One Tech Monopoly Decides That All the News Is Fit to Print In Their App

Big Blank Spaces Like this Screenshot Are Now Common Loading The NYTimes on Apple’s iPad App

In case you didn’t see it, Apple is preparing for a Big Victory. It reached a settlement with small time mom and pop APP developers to sway the judge to consider this as final victory. It’s App store hauls in 30 percent margins on all apps, and gold coins sold to my children while playing in an app. The fight started long ago against EPIC’s Fortnite, the most popular app. Shortly after, undaunted by the fight ahead, Apple sets it sites on the New York Times, the most popular subscription news site by far digitally, with double that of number two. It made many of the others crumble on the way up to the top.

Apple and its tech monopoly friends take disruption to mean competition destruction.

They use their image of an innovator in a small garage as a brand moniker excuse to plunge their massive profits down on every industry they set their sights on.

Although Apple’s new hardware innovations are still admirable and some of the best in tech, they’re non-innovation is more profitable. They’ve used their profits from innovation as leverage to crush markets which they did not innovate for. Spotify in music, in news the New York Times digital edition, the search of Google, ads by Google, maps by Google, Amazon’s Kindle, Roku Streaming TV, Notability, Evernote and other notetaking apps –which they are gradually integrating into their Notes app feature by feature as they ‘evolve’ it.

Sometimes they fail, sometimes they succeed when the copy. Like the other big tech companies. Copying isn’t a crime, but it is hardly innovation. They simply crush innovators by stealing popular software features or ideas developers have or by putting developers out of business by integrating features into their products. Such was the case for the parental control apps.

But with the News app they simply are throttling the New York Times. Blank pages come up on the app when opened in my iPad. Their plan is transparent at least from my experience: frustrate Times subscribers and make them switch to Apple’s unlimited News app. NYTimes reporters probably use laptops so they use browsers. Get all the special stuff that now lies out of reach.

I have been a subscriber on my iPad for years. It worked flawlessly until last summer when it started turning white. Then refresh after refresh I would start seeing white empty pages. It’s still the case today. I put a screenshot as a picture to show what I’m getting when I use the New York Times on the iPad.

For months now I’ve thought about writing to apple with the New York Times about this issue. I’ve tried updating it and nothing has happened to fix it. In my mind, I think Apple is blocking or slowing the downloading of the New York Times for subscribers — a practice of throttling made popular by the internet companies a few years back.

I’ve suspected this throttling was the issue since the advertisements started appearing for Apple news for $10 per month around the same time. They beat down every other news organization they could find to add credibility to their new subscription service. They’re trying to make the news like the App Store. 30% Commission on all articles even though they’ve written none of them. That’s a lot.

Maybe the Times will sue Apple like Epic Games did when they reached number one in the app store. By then it will be too late of course. Court cases take years and in that time Apple will rake in billions from the news. A settlement will be puny, like the suggested one with app developers they just made.

The New York Times simply won’t have any of this new News store app. And so, as punishment, they’ve been throttled. They don’t even seem to know about the throttling. My iPad is up to date and two generations old, so works great still. But the throttling and blank-loading is a serious frustration in the land of fickle consumers. Jumping ship and saving 50% is easy to do.

The Times are reporting on the issue though. Here’s what the NYTimes reported in their August 26th, 2021, article: “Separately on Thursday, Apple said it would also allow news organizations to pay the reduced 15 percent commission on subscriptions sold through their iPhone apps, but only if they participated in Apple’s news service, Apple News. The Times and some other news organizations have pulled out of Apple News in recent years because, they said, it took control of their relationship with readers and potential subscribers.”

A second article from the same day notes on Apple's settlement: “Apple argues that its commission rewards it for creating the “economic miracle” of the App Store, and it is fighting to keep the status quo.” $20 BILLION A YEAR IN COMMISSIONS. Hardly a miracle to collect such massive profits from posting some else’s app. I wouldn’t even use the somewhat pejorative word ‘commissions,’ or even as the Russian mafia calls it, “roof”. More like racket. Or monopoly.

And “economic miracle,” sounds like in Tim Cook’s eyes Steve Jobs is breaking one loaf of bread and feeding the masses like Jesus did. Or perhaps teaching a man to fish and then collecting half the fish every day from all the men he taught for the rest of their lives.

Apple agrees to set up $100 million dollar fund. In other words, mathematically speaking, 0.5 tenths of its 30 percent cut per year to those small-time developers. (First the lawyers get $30 million though, so it is less at $70 Million; and it’s not per year, only one year). Or, in real terms, the fund is a rounding error on their App Store balance sheets. Is a $100 million, or .5% a proper monopolistic punishment? And yes, full disclosure, I am typing on a new Mac Air (PC’s just suck, Chromebooks are worse.)

And nothing really much changes in terms of their payment structure. The NYTimes article: “Apple will still bar developers from telling customers inside their iPhone apps about other ways to pay.” [emphasis mine]

There’s no question about it in my mind. This is unfair monopolistic power is battering the New York Times brand, attacking the news as a whole by bringing it under their control, and will continue until the Fourth Estate becomes an obedient suburb.

I pay a subscription fee to the New York Times of about 20 bucks a month, as I have been for years. But lately, I find I need a refund. And it should be Apple that should give it for disrupting my service.

Engaged in New Ideas, New recipes, Study of Class, Race and Inequality, Born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, seeking injustices.

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Bren Kelly

Bren Kelly

Engaged in New Ideas, New recipes, Study of Class, Race and Inequality, Born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, seeking injustices.

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