DiDi said that following a regulatory order to remove its app from the app store could damage the economy. Some other US-listed Chinese app firms were under investigation. Alibaba is under scrutiny for its $37 bn listings planned since last year. DiDi’s takedown comes two days after its debut in the New York Stock Exchange. DiDi is also facing antitrust charges by China’s market regulator.
Amazon has announced buying encrypted messaging app Wickr. Details of the deal were not revealed. Wickr will be incorporated in the AWS division. To meet regulatory requirements, AWS will provide Wickr services with end-to-end encrypted communications. Wickr claims to have military-grade encryption for business and government users. It was reported to be one of the apps used to leak information from the White House during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Grapevine has it that audio meet app Clubhouse is soon planning to launch its own private messaging feature. The company, recently, accidentally leaked ‘Backchannel’ which is a private messaging feature to some users. Backchannel will allow users to chat via text along with the audio. The feature will be a direct competitor for Whatsapp and Telegram. Spotify has also introduced Greenroom, its live audio Clubhouse rival.
Apple has rolled out a privacy prioritized ad highlighting App Tracking Transparency for its smartphones. The new feature stops various kinds of tracking on iPhone devices. Apple launched ATT on iOS 14.5. The new feature requires apps to seek permission before tracking the user on other apps or websites. 96% of iPhone users opt-out of tracking using the new ATT feature. 36% of users said it’s their favorite iOS 14.5 feature.
The US-based audio-based social media app Clubhouse announced the global launch of the Android app within a week. The beta-testing of the app started earlier this month with a lot of features to be worked on like accessibility, language support, etc. The app, estimated at a market valuation of $4bn, faces competition from Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter who have similar offerings or announced plans for the same. The startup said it is working to bring iOS features to the android version.
Authorities in China have asked domestic app stores to remove 90 apps from their platforms. The action was taken to check the irregularities in data collection, forced targeted promotions, etc. The list of apps banned includes online ticket booking platform Damai, online travel booking app Tuniu, China’s biggest LinkedIn rival Maimai, and Tianya. China, recently, laid new rules that define what types of user data apps can collect and what is off-limits.
Apple saved users by stopping $1.5 bn transactions in 2020 on app store purchases by removing 1mn apps and updates breaching security protocols. It blocked 95,000 apps for fraudulent violations, rejected 48,000 for undocumented features, 150,000 were spam, 215,000 removed for privacy violation. Apple reviewed over 1bn ratings and 100 mn reviews and removed 250 mn of them. Besides, 424 mn developer accounts were rejected over fraudulent behaviors.
A lawsuit in the UK was filed against Apple alleging overcharging iPhone and iPad users. The claimants said that the 30% standard fee is excessive and unlawful. Apple said its prices are in the mainstream of those charged by other digital markets. 84% of apps are free and developers are to give a 15% commission to Apple. An estimate of 1.5 mn pounds, as per the lawsuit, has to be compensated to users who purchased anything from the app store since 2015.