Apple is in trouble again

About Fatu
By Fatu Ogwuche

Top of Mind. Happy Sunday!

This week, I’m enjoying watching Karma sneak up on a tech company; amused by ridesharing competitors teaming up for good; and how a summer partnership gives credibility to a tech company’s new payment product.

3 big things:

  • Apple’s facing the heat
  • Lyft & Uber are doing righteous things
  • Facebook Pay’s expansion

Apple is in trouble again

Apple logo | Credit: MUO

The Short: Apple rolled out a prompt for iOS 15 users for consent to enable “personalized ads”. This grants Apple permission to use your App Store purchase activity for tailored ads in the App Store, Apple News app and Stocks App.

What this means: For app developers, Apple launched a prompt in April asking iOS users for permission to “track activity” to tailor ads. But for its own purpose, Apple changed the language to request permission to offer “personalized ads”.

Dig deeper: Developers called out Apple for engaging in anticompetitive behaviour.

What Apple did was increase the chances of user’s saying yes to its own prompt by offering tailored ads, but used an ominous tone for the prompt from developers – despite both prompts serving the same purpose.Final thoughts: Apple’s stance as big tech’s privacy tzar means it gets to take advantage of platform control to offer new definitions of policies that give them leverage.

If the company believed that language was fair to developers, why didn’t it choose the same language for its own purposes?

Lyft & Uber team up

Lyft & Uber logo mashup | Credit: ALD

The Short: Lyft and Uber both announced they would cover legal fees for drivers who get sued under Texas’ latest abortion law.

What this means: The new law, titled TX SB8 bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and prosecutes rideshare drivers for driving women to receive abortions, with fines up to $10,000.

Lyft’s CEO Logan Green tweeted:

TX SB8 threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go – especially women exercising their right to choose. Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform.

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to the tweet saying:

Right on logan Green – drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go. Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push.

Big picture: Lyft and Uber are fierce competitors in the ride-hailing industry – routinely launching products intended to swipe customers away from each other.Lyft is working on a delivery business to rival Uber Eats after its President John Zimmer criticized Uber Eats for taking between 20%-30% of revenue from restaurants for meals ordered.

At the height of Uber’s enthusiasm for driverless ridesharing and autonomous vehicles (AV), Lyft’s CEO Logan Green called the AV the future of transportation and a potential business case for Lyft.

Uber killed those dreams last year.

Final thoughts: I love partnerships where companies band together to offer protections for their employees from regional regulations and laws.

It is a motivating factor for drivers who now have to work around needless state laws intended to punish consumers and workers.

Facebook is expanding its payment product

Facebook Pay | Credit: Facebook

The Short: Facebook announced an expansion of its payment product FB Pay to Shopify’s online stores.

What this means: Facebook Pay’s expansion outside Facebook, Instagram and Messenger is an opportunity to establish the product as a secure payment method for online transactions, starting within Shopify’s ecosystem.

Big picture: The partnership grants Facebook Pay access to Shopify’s network of 1.7 million businesses across 175 countries. Not a bad deal.

Final thoughts: Shopify has just knighted the 2-year old payment company as a major player in digital payments. Shopify is only the first train at this station and gives Facebook Pay all the credibility it needs.

I predict Facebook Pay will become a major entry point for businesses and buyers in the online marketplace.

Market Trends

Market Trends | Big Tech This Week

Market Watch: Here’s how the stocks of companies, which dominated the news this week performed as of market close:

Apple (Ticker symbol: AAPL)

  • Apple shares soared at 0.65% following changes to its App Store policies and ads tracking transparency efforts.

Facebook (Ticker symbol: FB)

  • Facebook shares did great at the stock market this week, with a 0.26% increase. Its investment into payments services is yielding a good return.

Shopify (Ticker symbol: SHOP)

  • Shopify’s fortunes meet analysts expectations. Shares increased by 11.65% this week, beating investor expectations.

Lyft (Ticker symbol: LYFT)

  • Lyft’s shares closed at -1.09%, underperforming at the stock market this week. Lyft & Uber have been reeling from a 40% drop in active drivers.

Uber (Ticker symbol: UBER)Uber shares rose 0.10% following news of a potential investment by China into Uber backed app, DIDI.

New product spotlight!

Super Follows Design | Credit: Twitter

New product on the block: After a 7-month wait, Twitter officially launched Super Follows. The new product will allow users to monetize their content.

First Impressions: Twitter finally answers the question “why is Twitter free?” by giving users the power to ask people to pay for the privilege to see their tweets.

To apply right now, you must have at least 10,000 followers and be based in the US.

Twitter will take 3% of your revenue, and users can pay between $2.99 -$9.99 for exclusive access to their favourite creators.

Additional features:

  • Twitter launched “badges” to help creators identify a Super Follower
  • Personalized responses only Super Followers can see.

Verdict: Jury’s out on the existence of Twitter creators that are exciting enough to generate the type of revenue the product needs to survive.

It might go the way of Fleets, or we might witness the rise of a product that scores Twitter points as a full-stack product for the creator economy.

Either way, it’s a good day whenever a company engages in new product experimentation.

That’s it for the week. See you next Sunday!

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