All Big Tech stories

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 31, 2021 - Technology

Apple's crumbling wall of silence

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Long-quiet Apple employees are beginning to speak their minds. In recent weeks they've talked publicly about experiences with harassment and discrimination, concerns about business decisions, and objections to policies that some feel open their personal lives to corporate scrutiny.

Why it matters: Employee activism has been on the rise across Silicon Valley, but until recently, Apple workers have largely avoided public criticism of their employer.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 30, 2021 - Technology

Apple critics say App Store changes not sufficient

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Although Apple is making some changes to its App Store policies and setting up a $100 million fund for small developers, critics say that the terms of a class-action settlement don't meaningfully loosen the company's grip on its digital marketplace.

Why it matters: Beyond the pending suit with developers, Apple faces lawsuits from Fortnite developer Epic Games as well as antitrust inquiries in the U.S., Europe and beyond. Korea is also considering legislation that would force Apple to open iOS to alternative app stores.

Fall antitrust forecast: Biden raises hammer on Big Tech

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The antitrust scrutiny of tech giants that began during the Trump era will only intensify this fall as Big Tech critics Lina Khan, Tim Wu and Jonathan Kanter take the lead on competition policy and enforcement in the Biden administration.

Why it matters: Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple face threats from federal regulators, Congress, state attorneys general and European Union authorities.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Aug 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Apple makes App Store concessions to settle developer suit

Image: Apple

Apple said Thursday it will relax some App Store rules in order to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by U.S.-based developers over its store terms.

Why it matters: Apple will let developers communicate with users about alternative payment methods outside of the App Store. It will also set up a $100 million fund for small developers and make some other changes to its practices, but it's keeping its overall commission structure.

T-Mobile hacker explains how he breached carrier's security

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

John Binns, a 21-year-old American who now lives in Turkey, told the Wall Street Journal that he was behind the T-Mobile security breach that affected more than 50 million people earlier this month.

The intrigue: Binns said he broke through the T-Mobile defenses after discovering an unprotected router exposed on the internet, after scanning the carrier's internet addresses for weak spots using a publicly available tool.

EA pushes for more accessible games for players with disabilities

A player uses the Ping System in "Apex Legends" to let the team know of the placement of a Jump Pad. Image: Courtesy of Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts will give other developers access to its accessibility patents and technology as part of a new initiative to make video games more inclusive for players with disabilities.

Why it matters: Attitudes toward accessibility in video games have shifted in a more positive direction over the last decade, but that work needs to be ongoing.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 24, 2021 - Technology

The limits to Facebook's transparency

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is now sharing information about which posts on its platform get the most views, but researchers and critics tell Axios the new quarterly reports lack the details or timeliness to be of much use.

Why it matters: While Facebook has offered its "Widely Viewed Content Report" as a transparency move, the company won't persuade critics that it's winning the fight against misinformation unless it gives outsiders more of an open window into near-real-time data.

A video game you can't see

Image: Faling Squirrel

The most unusual video game released on Xbox this week is an attempt by veteran developer Dave Evans to make an interactive adventure that blind and sighted players can enjoy equally.

Why it matters: While there are hundreds of audio-only games on PC, one of them making it to consoles is nearly unheard of. (It's also on PC.)

FTC accuses Facebook of "buy or bury" scheme in new antitrust complaint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday took a second shot at alleging Facebook is an illegal monopoly in a new complaint that accuses the social media company of buying up potential competitors or thwarting their access to the platform.

Why it matters: The FTC, now led by Big Tech critic Lina Khan, is trying to save its case against Facebook after a judge dismissed its first attempt.

Oversight Board upholds Facebook decision to keep post calling lockdowns ineffective

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The independent Oversight Board on Thursday upheld Facebook's decision to leave up a post from a medical council in Brazil that claimed lockdowns are ineffective.

The big picture: The board's decision provides insight into how Facebook's removal threshold for content that creates a risk of imminent harm will be applied to posts about COVID-19.