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Screenshot: Axios

As had been rumored, Apple is buying NextVR, an Orange County, Calif.-based startup best known for streaming sports, concerts and other live events in virtual reality. The company confirmed the acquisition first to Bloomberg, and also to Axios.

Why it matters: NextVR was struggling before the pandemic hit. The combination of slower-than-expected adoption of VR headsets and now a lack of live events put severe pressure on the company's ability to fundraise and build its business.

The purchase price was not disclosed and Apple declined to comment beyond telling Axios, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the typical statement it offers when it buys a company.

Context: While NextVR had deals with the National Basketball Association and others, Apple's acquisition doesn't necessarily mean Apple will continue taking the company in that direction. Indeed, the only message now on NextVR's website is a statement that "NextVR is heading in a new direction" and thanking its existing fans.

Go deeper: Check out this week's special report from Login.

Go deeper

Epic Games lawsuit against Apple, Google highlights hurdles for apps

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Big Tech antitrust throwdown of 2020 continued Thursday when Fortnite maker Epic Games sued Apple (and Google) over how they manage their mobile app stores, objecting, for instance, to the 30% cut the company takes from in-app payments.

Why it matters: Apple’s control over iOS app distribution has been a thorny issue, so any changes would have ramifications for the business models of startups and indie app developers.

Aug 14, 2020 - Technology

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
7 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.