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Image: Apple

One question heading into Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference next week is whether the iPhone maker will combine the usual software announcements with an olive branch to software makers who are criticizing the company's business practices.

The big picture: Outspoken critics like Spotify, Epic and Match Group are still in the minority, but the complaints they are voicing reflect broader concerns over everything from the size of Apple's commissions to its favorable treatment of its own products and services.

Driving the news: Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off with a keynote on Monday, where the company is expected to announce the news of the week, including the first details of the next versions of iOS and MacOS.

Between the lines: The event, like recent developer events from Microsoft and Google, is designed to re-energize coders and sell them on the benefits of developing for the company's platforms.

  • So far, Apple has essentially held firm to its App Store rules and practices despite an antitrust suit from Epic Games, other legal actions from developers and consumers as well as government inquiries.
  • Its concessions have been modest, such as a program announced last year that halves the typical 30% commission rate for small developers who make less than $1 million a year from the App Store.
  • Since the gathering is online rather than in person, Apple could benefit — developers are less likely to be able to share their grievances.

Yes, but: Apple has a lot going for it, including a base of customers that is large, growing and spends more per person on apps than those who use Android.

  • An Apple-commissioned study released this week estimates developers made $643 billion via the App Store, including the sale of digital goods and services, for which Apple takes a commission, as well as via advertising and the sale of physical goods and services, from which Apple does not directly get a cut.

Go deeper: Services push makes Apple a target

Go deeper

Epic asks Apple to allow "Fortnite" to return in South Korea

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Epic Games says it "intends" to re-release its popular "Fortnite" battle royale game on iPhones and iPads in South Korea, citing the country's new law involving in-app purchases.

Why it matters: Epic's plan, announced tonight via a Tweet, would allow it to achieve one of its key goals in its ongoing fight with Apple, at least in one country.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.