Jul 14, 2021 • 10M

🗞️ Lawyers say Google is too much like Apple

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Raad Ahmed
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This week: Google feels the antitrust heat and Chinese tech companies have a major barrier between going public. Plus, America is still trying to solve its Ransomware issue.

🍎 Why state attorneys have a problem with Google resembling Apple 

What’s the basis of the antitrust suit against Google, ya know the one that hasn’t been swatted away already by a federal judge, a la Facebook? One simple way to think about it is, as the WSJ explains, regulators are tired of Google acting like Apple. 

  • This new antitrust suit was filed last week: 36 state attorneys general accused Google of turning its Android operating system into a walled garden, i.e. that Google was too powerful in deciding how developers get to use the system.

  • Android wasn’t supposed to be like this: When it launched, Google presented it as a kind of anti-Apple. Whereas Apple has always exerted complete control over its App Store, Google allowed companies to develop their own app stores to compete against Google Play. 

  • But Google started changing things: Last year, it began requiring all companies that sell services on Android to use Google’s in-app billing system. (This would include major players like Netflix and Spotify.) Google gets a 30% cut of the revenues.

So why is it potentially antitrust?

The attorney generals essentially believe Google is making life harder for the other companies and is able to do so because of its power and influence. 

The Verdict

It’ll be a while before this lawsuit progresses, but in the meantime, the Epic v. Apple lawsuit could provide a glimpse of what’s to come for Google.  

💥 Chinese tech companies go public at the risk of angering China 

The hottest tech companies in China are pondering how to go public -- and not anger their government. 

  • ByteDance just decided to postpone its IPO: The parent company of TikTok, which would have had one of the most hyped IPOs of the year, has bypassed hitting the stock market for an indefinite period of time. This isn’t about getting its finances straight: The WSJ reports that China wanted ByteDance to get its data security strategy in order.   

  • This was likely more of a de facto demand than a request: The Chinese government warned Didi, China’s version of Uber, to improve its security, too, and Didi decided to go ahead with a U.S. public listing. China’s internet regulator has since opened a security investigation and removed Didi from Chinese app stores.

Chinese and American pressure

ByteDance has had issues before, with the Chinese government shutting down another one of its apps for vulgar content in 2018. And, of course, the Trump administration threatened to take TikTok out of American app stores over an entirely different kind of security concern -- that its owners would share data with China.

The Verdict

Security problems can always be an issue, but this appears to be as much about Chinese-American relations as anything else.

🥺 Can America figure out how to stop all the Ransomware? 

Pipelines. Schools. The food supply. America has been getting wrecked because of Ransomware in 2021. Is there a good way to stop it? 

  • America knows, more or less, why it’s been going on: Many of the major attacks have been traced to Russia-based hackers, but the options for retaliation aren’t so simple. For one thing, the attacks haven’t definitively been connected to the Kremlin, although the White House believes the Russian government has the power to stop them. Security experts say America risks escalation from Russia, i.e. even more attacks if it gets angry.  

  • So what will the U.S. decide?: The NYT reports that the Biden Administration is on the verge of giving another verbal warning to Putin (he previously notified Putin of several critical infrastructure areas that would lead to an American attack if they were hacked) or potentially making stronger moves to dismantle Russian cyberinfrastructure. 

We may be at the “red line”

Basically, the cyber attacks have been so frequent and so strong, particularly a July 4 hacking by a Russian group known as REvil, that the U.S. will take a new approach to dealing with Russia through a counterstrike.

The Verdict

The year of Ransomware is not slowing down at all and if anything is headed for an entirely new chapter. In fact, REvil mysteriously shut down as of Tuesday night. Was it America or Russia who brought them down? We don’t know. 

💌 What else we're forwarding

Donald Trump is asking for Section 230 to be declared unconstitutional: He’s going after Twitter and the other social networks blocking him and saying this is a “game-changer” of a lawsuit. Realistically, the arguments for the suit are unlikely to succeed.  

The Supreme Court makes a flurry of decisions to close the term: It was a busy last few weeks for SCOTUS’s latest term. Here are a few last highlights.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to O'Flynn, a dance music producer from London. We’re playing his one and only LP, Aletheia, named after the Ancient Greek concept meaning revelation or truth. A mix of electronic and downtempo styles, this album strikes the perfect balance between tranquillity and the dancefloor.

Aletheia - O’Flynn (50m)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music 

💬 What we’re discussing

​​Join our moderator Kiki Haar (GC, Sumologic), who, along with, Evan Ferl (GC, Poshmark), David Le (VP and AGC, Lyft), and Einat Levy (Director & Assistant Secretary, Vimeo) will discuss their experiences of going public, covering topics including how to prepare and lessons learned. RSVP to join us this Thursday 15th July!

See you there!

✌🏽 Raad