In this week’s digital news, the Supreme Court agrees to challenge the Apple App Store’s monopoly, while Amazon and Walmart battle to offer the most convenient delivery service.
Supreme Court moves Apple App Store lawsuit forward
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday greenlit a crucial lawsuit regarding the App Store monopoly. The suit accuses Apple of monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications. In addition, the accusers allege that Apple forces users to overpay. In a 5-4 ruling, the judges upheld a lower court’s decision. As the plaintiffs see it, Apple requires that apps be sold through its App Store and takes an excessive 30% commission off the top. Apple argued that it was acting as an agent for app developers. They also emphasized that the suit poses a direct threat to e-commerce, which has quickly become a crucial part of the world economy. Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s four liberal justices to rule against Apple.
Amazon to pay employees to start their own package delivery businesses
Amazon wants to help existing employees start their own package delivery companies. The initiative is an extension of the Delivery Service Partner which initially began last year. This program hopes to establish a network of independent delivery fleets. Amazon anticipated that each participant would need an initial budget of around $10,000 to cover overhead costs. The company, however, insists that each delivery operation could feasibly earn up to $300,000 each year. The expansion of the program, however, means the company is now promising to cover “up to” $10,000 plus the equivalent of three months of an employee’s most recent salary. “We received overwhelming interest from tens of thousands of individuals who applied to be part of the Delivery Service Partner program, including many employees,” Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, said in a statement.
Walmart adds 1-day shipping as delivery battle heats up
In other delivery-related news, Walmart will roll out one-day shipping to 40 of the top U.S. metropolitan areas this year. The service doesn’t require a membership fee, and applies to all orders over $35. And while the service doesn’t include every product, it does encompass 220,000 popular items. Starting in Phoenix and Las Vegas, the service will then expand to southern California in the coming days. This move comes just a few weeks after Amazon announced plans to make upgrade two-day shipping to one-day shipping for a variety of essentials. In sum, the competition is heating up between the retail giants. And of course, it’s even more bad news for the smaller players. As Wells Fargo analysts put it: “[The news] once again highlights the challenges of competing with deep-pocketed players in the evolving digital landscape.”
Uber’s Movement Speeds feature offers hourly street-level traffic data
Uber has followed suit in terms of expanding ambitious initiatives this year. The company announced Movement in 2017, a feature to help local leaders, urban planners, and communities make informed civil engineering decisions using data from Uber trips. The expansion, however, is called Movement Speeds. It’s a new module that provides traffic speed data in real time. The feature goes live today in New York City, Seattle, Cincinnati, Nairobi, and London. It’s completely free and updates constantly, enabling users to measure travel times in cities with trip data collected from Uber’s GPS. As Dr. Jane MacFarlane, executive director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, is optimistic about the program. “Our long-term vision is to provide next-generation transportation planning and control capabilities for optimizing the movement of goods and people and improving the quality of life in our cities.”
Published on May 17, 2019