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Report: Apple Is Trying to Get Newspapers to Fork Over Half of Revenue From Planned Subscription Service



Tech giant Apple, which is trying to pivot to services as sales of some of its electronics slow, is reportedly working to launch a subscription-based news service that would get readers past paywalls at a discounted rate and share the revenue with publishers. But according to a Tuesday report in the Wall Street Journal, many of those publishers aren’t thrilled with those terms—especially because Apple wants half.

The subscription service has been called a “Netflix for news,” with sources telling the Journal that Apple’s negotiators have a planned price point of $10 a month to access an unlimited slew of content from participating publishers. Apple would keep around half of that, according to the Journal’s sources, and the rest of the earnings “would go into a pool that would be divided among publishers according to the amount of time users spend engaged with their articles.”

So Apple wants half. Then it wants everyone else to squabble over what’s left.

The paper wrote that some major outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post are balking at those proposed terms, including concerns about both the revenue-sharing arrangement and a possible loss of control over valuable subscriber data:

The New York Times and the Washington Post are among the major outlets that so far haven’t agreed to license their content to the service, in part because of concerns over the proposed terms, which haven’t been previously disclosed, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Talks are ongoing, and deals with the publishers could still be reached.

The Wall Street Journal also has concerns, but its recent conversations with Apple have been productive, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

Additional concerns include that Apple wants publishers to sign on for at least a year, and publishers are variously seeking shorter or longer deals, the Journal’s sources said.

It’s clear why publishers would be wary, and for a number of reasons. One is that many news organizations already got burned hard by Facebook, which has a powerful gatekeeper role in directing audiences to content, dominates online advertising alongside Google, and has launched several failed partnerships (such as Instant Articles) with them. Despite publishing an absolutely jaw-dropping amount of content for Facebook users, the publishers saw the resulting ad revenue get gobbled up by Facebook.

Another is that, as the Journal noted, many newspapers charge well over $10 a month for subscriptions—and selling them for pennies on the dollar, then also splitting such a huge portion of the revenue with Apple and other publishers, may be a really bad financial decision.

For example, it could undercut their subscriber base and give Apple more power to push them around. It’s also possible that the audience willing to pay for news is not going to go much higher from an Apple News partnership, in which case the publishers run a serious risk of cutting Apple in on revenue with nothing to show for it in return. Such a partnership may also, as with Facebook, promote a race to the bottom on competing for views in Apple’s walled garden.

As the Journal wrote, the three outlets mentioned in their report already have deals with Apple that include some free content, but seem much more generous at face value:

The three outlets already distribute a subset of their articles on Apple News, which readers can access free. News organizations keep 100% of the revenue from ads they sell for these articles, and they keep 70% of revenue from ads that appear alongside their articles that they don’t sell. Apple’s planned subscription service would dramatically expand access to those outlets, adding content that is currently behind paywalls.

Users can also subscribe to news organizations through Apple News; news organizations keep 70% of the subscription revenue for the first year and a larger portion after that.

As the Verge noted, Apple’s demands for gluttonous revenue-sharing arrangements have previously undermined its efforts to branch into TV, which the company has finally just decided to have a go at itself. But the pressure is on for Apple to reach some kind of deal, with BuzzFeed News reporting that sources say it plans a launch date on March 25.

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Although Huawei has officially launched the Harmony OS (Hongmeng). In fact, it’s been developed to Android OS on its smartphones. However, Huawei still emphasizes that the company is committed to staying in the eco-platform of Google. Recently, the Chinese communications and smartphone manufacturing giant said that there is no plan to launch a smartphone based on its self-developed system.

The above statement was made by Vincent Yang, senior vice president of Huawei, in a media event in New York on Wednesday. He pointed out that ‘we hope to maintain a set of standards and a set of ecology… Harmony OS is the company’s Plan B.”

Image result for harmonyos mate

This means that if the US continues to implement the ban and even refuses Huawei to acquire key components of the Android system including GMS and Play Store, then Harmony will play a preventive role.

According to Huawei, the amount of code in Harmony OS is much lower than that of Android. In addition to TV, Huawei is preparing to use it in smartwatches, in-car products and so on.

In addition, Yang hinted that Huawei’s next new flagship machine (which is widely believed to be the Mate 30 series) still runs the Android system. As for the switch to their OS, it will only happen at the last moment when the company is forced to disable Android.


According to Yang, Huawei currently has no plans to launch the smartphone running their own OS. But if the US maintains the ban, the situation may change.

P.S. Earlier, we have heard the first smartphone to come with this system will be the Mate 30 Lite. But now, after the statement of Huawei executive, there is no reason to think so. Although, in the case of Huawei, everything is possible.


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Facebook loses Oculus executive who led its mobile VR efforts




Another Oculus executive who played a key role in Facebook’s VR efforts is leaving the company. Just a few days ago, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell headed for the exit — now, Variety has revealed that Max Cohen, Oculus’ head of mobile, is also peacing out. While Facebook refused to give the publication an official statement, Cohen’s LinkedIn page confirms his departure. His current position says he’s an “explorer” who’s “learning new skills.”

Cohen joined Oculus as VP of mobile just a few weeks before Facebook’s acquisition and headed up several projects over the years. He led the Gear VR program and Oculus’ Samsung partnership, and he also led the development of the standalone Oculus Go VR headset. In addition, he started the Oculus Quest program, which spawned a standalone headsetthat’s able to play desktop-quality VR games.

What Cohen’s departure means for Oculus remains to be seen. As Varietynoted, Facebook is holding the Oculus Connect developer conference on September 25th and 26th. The social network is expected to reveal its virtual and augmented reality plans, so we’ll most likely hear about some of the projects Oculus is working on during the event.


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Samsung Beats Apple As AirPods Face Embarrassing Defeat




If you are looking for the best wireless earbuds for your phone’s music, then Samsung is going to be very quick to point out that its Galaxy Buds have picked up the first ‘excellent’ rating for sound quality by a wireless device. Meanwhile Apple is going to be licking its wounds as the AirPods sit in a lowly 49th place in the same chart.

Galaxy Buds charge wirelessly atop an S10 phone during the Samsung Unpacked product launch event in San Francisco, California on February 20, 2019 (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images)

Galaxy Buds charge wirelessly atop an S10 phone during the Samsung Unpacked product launch event in San Francisco, California on February 20, 2019 (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images) GETTY

The rankings come from Consumer Reports’ study of the market, and it picks out a number of key features. Kim Eun-jin reports for Business Korea:

The Galaxy Buds were ranked first with 86 points, while AirPods, which are used by about 60 percent of wireless earphone users, came in 49th with 56 points.

Consumer Reports ranked the wireless earphones based on an evaluation of their sound quality and designs.

In terms of sound quality, only the Galaxy Buds received the “Excellent” grade. Consumer Reports said that the Galaxy Buds were one of the first portable Bluetooth earphones to achieve the highest sound quality grade.

The first is the aforementioned sound quality. Given the AirPods hang in the ear in the exact same way as a brick designed to look like Douglas Adams does not, and the Galaxy Buds fill the outer ear with optional ‘wings’ this should not come as a huge surprise to anyone who has experienced both.

Power was also highlighted. Not only do the Galaxy Buds offer more battery capacity with the six hours of advertised audio time reachable, the carry case (which tops up to allow for another seven hours) comes with wireless charging as standard.

Finally there’s the price. Once you pick and mix from Apple’s options to build a similar package of AirPods to the Buds, you realise that Samsung’s package significantly cheaper.

North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: A man wears AirPods, Apple's wireless headphones in his ears (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images)

North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: A man wears AirPods, Apple’s wireless headphones in his ears (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images) GETTY

The report also acknowledges that Apple is the market leader here with sixty percent of the wireless earbuds market. As with most Apple products, you don’t have full feature parity, and what you do you have is more expensive than the competition.


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