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Apple, Google no longer in power as fairness is brought to digital economy

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South Korea is the first country to challenge app store payment policies, with a new bill introduced to support content developers.

South Korea challenges app and play store policies.

Google and Apple are now facing criticism for their app store and payment policies across the Asia Pacific.

Currently, app developers are forced to use the proprietary billing systems of the respective tech giants’, however South Korea is challenging this rule.

Under a new bill passed on Tuesday by South Korean parliament, app makers can use external companies to process payments on their apps in Google Play and Apple’s App store.

The country will be the first to challenge Google and Apple’s payment policies, once the bill is signed by President Moon Jae-in.

This comes a week after Apple said it would allow App Store developers to promote alternative payment methods to their user.

Current policies “unfair”

Critics said the current Google and Apple payment legislations were unfair, as the monopolies were entitled to a 30 percent commission.

They also said, developers were left with little choice and had to coincide with the conditions or face not receiving payment and delayed app reviews.

Meghan DiMuzio, the head of the Coalition for App Fairness, welcomes the bill coined the “Google power-abuse-prevention law” with open arms.

“[The law] is a significant development in the global fight to bring fairness to the digital economy,” DiMuzio says.

Apple and Google react

However, in response to the bill, Apple says choice of third-party payment systems may put users at risk of exposure to fraud.

“Users who purchase digital goods…undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases and features like ‘Ask to Buy’ and Parental Controls will become less effective,” an Apple spokesperson says.

Google also commented on the bill saying its payment system is what helps keep its service fee “free”.

“We’ll reflect on how to comply with this law while maintaining a model that supports a high-quality operating system and app store, and we will share more in the coming weeks.”

Australia follows suit

Australia is also ramping up the pressure by floating reforms for how to tackle payment systems provided by Apple and Google.

Apple’s commissions, can go as high as 30 percent on some purchases made through the company’s platform, with some companies saying they have little choice to comply.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called for new regulations on digital payments.

“Ultimately, if we do nothing to reform the current framework, it will be Silicon Valley alone that determines the future of our payments system.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the Australian Financial Review newspaper.

The Australian government is considering designating tech companies as payment providers while establishing a strategic plan between the government and the industry.

As a result, an integrated licensing framework will be developed for payment systems.

Written by Rebecca Borg

Tech

Historic SpaceX “amateur” flight successfully returns to earth

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The Four amateur astronauts who orbited in a Space-X capsule for three days have touched down back on Earth

The crew onboard are the first private, all-civilian team ever to go to space.

The Inspiration4 crew left on a SpaceX capsule known as Crew Dragon, from Florida on Wednesday, and landed off the state’s coast after 7 PM local time on Saturday.

The reentry process back to earth involved the Crew Dragon spacecraft diving back into the Earth’s thick atmosphere. That process heats the exterior of the spacecraft up to 3,5000 degrees fahrenheit.

What makes the mission different:

Though the team onboard are not the first tourists to travel to orbit, their mission, called Inspiration4, what makes the mission so notable is that it did not involve a stay at the International Space Station under the tutelage of professional astronauts, as previous missions involving space tourists have.

Instead, the four spaceflight novices have spent the past two days free-flying aboard their 13-foot-wide capsule on their own at about a 563 kilometre altitude — 160 kilometres higher than where the space station is, and higher than any human has flown to in decades.

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Climate

Air New Zealand examining the future of greener, cleaner flying

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New Zealand’s national carrier is looking to the future of eco-friendly flying

Air New Zealand says it is right now examining how it can add low-carbon technologies like electric, hybrid or hydrogen powered planes to dramatically reduce emissions from shorter and regional flights as soon as 2030.

The New Zealand-based airline confirmed that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to research the impact that hydrogen planes would have on the Air New Zealand network, as well as operations and infrastructure.

Airbus has stated that it is hoping to develop a hydrogen plane by 2035

That goal from the plane maker has industry officials and analysts ambitious for the future.

The agreement between the European based aircraft manufacturer and Air New Zealand brings both companies a step closer to developing a cleaner travel future.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran stated that it’ll allow the airline to see “low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade,”

Airbus could be the eco-friendly travel game changer

The company has already struck similar hydrogen study deals with easyJet and SAS airlines in Europe as carriers around the world look to meet ambitious emissions targets in line with government commitments.

Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions.

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Tech

An artistic triumph: Canva’s value soars three-fold

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From Instagram posts to water bottles, the design network that can turn anyone into an artist is now worth fortunes.

Canva, the online design platform now worth billions

The value of design platform Canva has increased almost three-fold, with the once $15 billion company now worth $40 billion USD.

It comes after a funding round led by T.Rowe Price helped raise 200 million dollars for the company.

AirTree adventures, Blackbird and Dragoneer Investments were among the new and pre-existing investment companies that contributed to the deal.

It’s a win for the Australian tech scene, painting Canva as one of the most valuable software companies online.

The graphic design platform enables anyone to be a star designer, no matter the level of experience.

From videos to t-shirts, Canva offers a range of templates across their easy-to-use platform, providing a convenient and easy experience for the user.

A step into the future of design

Co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins says the goal of her platform is to replace PDF documents.

“Rather than people sending PDFs backwards and forwards between the designer and the client, designers can just create a template for organisation use,” Perkins says.

“It’s less important for us to absolutely excel at things like vector design because there are amazing programs on the market that may be there.”

“We really want to focus on that collaboration piece.”

How will the funding help?

The extra cash will be splashed on hiring two thousand workers, doubling their existing team where 42 percent of their workforce are women.

The extra funding also means the company is able to fulfill their dreams of further growing their business.

Web design, video editing and offline mode are all other features the platform is hoping to offer their growing user base, which is something the extra money can help them launch.

Perkins says it’s the funding from the investors that helps the platform remain to an extent free.

“We intentionally make our free product extremely generous for a number of reasons,”

“It means that people are able to love the product, share it with their friends and family, and promote it on social media, and then that virality really rapidly fuels our growth.”

Today, Canva has over 60 million users across 190 countries.

A number of big-name companies also use the platform, paying for their premium enterprise service.

Written by Rebecca Borg

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