Tag: Apps

13
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

In the shadow of TikTok, China’s apps quietly hoover up downloads

While SHEIN has its origins in China it is one of the biggest shopping apps in the United States, SHAREit has been banned in India despite being massively popular elsewhere, and Likee is chasing TikTok — but desperate to avoid a similar fate.

China’s app makers are having to be agile in a world where key markets have turned hostile to their country’s tech. 

They are either going under the radar in territories where the war over privacy, security and geopolitics rages — or are moving to friendlier markets to win millions of downloads.

Experts say that could signal an unstoppable rise for China’s smart and responsive tech, depending on the long-term damage that security and diplomatic squabbles may bring to the Made in China brand.

For now, the strategies of Chinese-owned platforms — quick reflexes to their customer base and aggressive social media marketing — are winning fans in unexpected places.

Fast-fashion online retailer SHEIN has deployed a legion of influencers and celebrities in the US, including singers Rita Ora and Katy Perry, to soar up the app store rankings.

The platform also advertised a Perry-curated range of affordable tees, dresses and accessories to coincide with her album launch this year.

The company now boasts one of the top five free shopping apps on Apple’s app store in the US, Australia and France, according to US-based research agency Sensor Tower.

“Many of their global users will actually be unaware that they are dealing with a Chinese company,” Hong Kong-based retail analyst Philip Wiggenraad said of such apps.

In a February post on WeChat to recruit suppliers, SHEIN said it had operations spanning more than 200 countries, with 2019 sales exceeding 20 billion yuan ($2.96 billion).

– Catch me if you can –

Even TikTok, battered by an ownership dispute

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Spotify threatening developers over apps that transfer playlists to other services

Developers who provide the ability to transfer Spotify playlists to Apple Music, or other services, are reportedly being told their access to the Spotify SDK will be revoked.

As it continues to say Apple “threatens our collective freedoms to listen, create, and connect,” Spotify has allegedly begun notifying developers that they can no longer transfer playlists to other services. SongShift reports that it has been told to cease such transfers or risk losing access to the Spotify SDK.

“The Spotify Developer Platform Team reached out and let us know we’d need to remove transferring from their service to a competing music service or have our API access revoked due to TOS [terms of service] violation,” announced SongShift in a blog post.

“While this is not the news we wanted to hear, we respect their decision,” it continued. As of the next release, SongShift v5.1.2, Spotify transfers will end. “This update is a painful one to push out to you all. We hope to continue to be of help with all your other music transferring needs.”

Spotify has yet to comment publicly, and it is unclear why it would be enforcing this contractual condition now when its developer agreement has forbidden it since at least 2018. “Do not transfer Spotify Content… to another music service that competes with Spotify or the Spotify Service,” says Spotify’s developer agreement.

However, while SongShift appears to be the only developer to have formally announced this requirement, others seem to be preparing for it. A Google search on “Spotify Transfers,” for instance, reveals a similar notice from the TuneMyMusic service — although that same notice cannot currently be found on the company’s website.

Also, similar service FreeYourMusic said on Twitter that it will continue to do so, as “we use a different method

11
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

When Your Last $166 Vanishes: ‘Fast Fraud’ Surges on Payment Apps

Charee Mobley, who teaches middle school in Fort Worth, Texas, had just $166 to get herself and her 17-year-old daughter through the last two weeks of August.

But that money disappeared when Ms. Mobley, 37, ran into an issue with Square’s Cash App, an instant payments app that she was using in the coronavirus pandemic to pay her bills and do her banking.

After seeing an errant online shopping charge on her Cash App, Ms. Mobley called what she thought was a help line for it. But the line had been set up by someone who asked her to download some software, which then took control of the app and drained her account.

“I didn’t have gas money and I couldn’t pay my daughter’s senior dues,” Ms. Mobley said. “We basically just had to stick it out until I got paid the following week.”

In the pandemic, people have flocked to instant payment apps like Cash App, PayPal’s Venmo and Zelle as they have wanted to avoid retail bank branches and online commerce has become more ingrained. To encourage that shift, the payment apps have added services like debit cards and routing numbers so that they work more like traditional banks.

But many people are unaware of how vulnerable they can be to losses when they use these services in place of banks. Payment apps have long had fraud rates that are three to four times higher than traditional payment methods such as credit and debit cards, according to data from the security firms Sift and Chargeback Gurus.

The fraud appears to have surged in recent months as more people use the apps. At Venmo, daily users have grown by 26 percent since last year, while the number of customer reviews mentioning the words fraud or scam has risen nearly

08
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Lawsuit alleges Apple blocks cloud gaming apps to stifle Apple Arcade competition

A new class action lawsuit alleges that Apple enjoys monopoly power in the iOS mobile gaming marketplace, and exhibits anticompetitive behavior to keep it that way.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Apple has “unlawfully [foreclosed] competition” through “persistent, pervasive, and secretive” misconduct.

New Jersey man John Pistacchio, the plaintiff in the case, claims to be paying “supracompetitive prices” for Apple Arcade as a result of the company’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.

More specifically, the lawsuit suggests that Apple exerts monopoly power over the iOS App Store by requiring developers to follow its app guidelines and by prohibiting third-party app stores. It adds that developers and app publishers are “powerless to constrain” Apple’s conduct by refusing to publish apps on iOS.

“No developer or group of developers have sufficient power to entice enough iOs users to leave iOS, such that developing apps solely for other platforms would be profitable,” the complaint reads, suggesting that companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google fall into that category.

The complaint goes on to claim that Apple exhibits anticompetitive behavior to maintain its monopoly status in iOS subscription-based gaming services.

Those alleged anticompetitive behaviors include imposing technical restrictions to prevent users from playing other services besides Apple Arcade; imposing contractual restrictions on developers; abusing its app review guidelines to protect its monopoly; and rejecting cloud-based subscription platforms.

It cites several instances of alleged anticompetitive behavior, such as Apple’s prohibition on cloud gaming apps like Xbox Game Pass and its treatment of gaming services like Facebook Gaming.

Furthermore, the lawsuit suggests that Apple blocks competing game services not because they violate its app review guidelines, but because they are rivals to Apple Arcade. (Apple Arcade, in fact, complies with all of Apple’s own guidelines.)

“Apple

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Apple Targeted By Record Labels for Allowing Copyright Infringing Apps in Russian App Store

Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, and a division of Warner have filed applications for a preliminary injunction against Apple for hosting three music apps in the Russian App Store that infringe copyright, reports TorrentFreak.

Roman Lukyanov, CEO of Semenov & Pevzner, a local law firm specializing in copyright protection and representing the labels, told Kommersant that the applications for interim measures against three apps were filed on October 1, 2020, listing Apple as the defendant.

The applications were filed at the Moscow City Court and request that local telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor takes action “to stop creating conditions” that allow for the illegal distribution of copyrighted works by a handful of local artists.

One of the apps in question, PewPee: Music Player, offers users a Spotify-like experience where they sign up for a free account to access a catalog of music, listen to playlists and download tracks for offline listening. It’s unclear where PewPee sources its music. According to TorrentFreak‘s source code checks, however, the app actually distributes MP3 files of the selected tracks.

The PewPee website offers the same free service using basic browser tools, but in a way that reveals the precise URLs of the songs, which can also be downloaded.

Another app mentioned in the complaints, iMus Music Player, lets users stream music tracks pulled from YouTube interspersed with ads. iMus is the 104th most popular app in Apple’s “Music” ‌App Store‌ category. The third app, called Music Downloader & Player, offers users a similar ads-based streaming service, with music videos pulled from YouTube, track downloads for offline listening, and an optional paid ad-free subscription.

The complaints follow a new law that came into force in Russia last week and which is designed to quickly remove piracy-enabling apps from mobile app stores. The legislation requires digital