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Amazon Has Ticket to Fly, Facebook Sharing Down Under, Apple and the App War

Liana Sowa

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Photo of drone by Geralt of Pixabay used with permission

Amazon was granted an air carrier certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday which should greatly further Amazon’s plans to launch drone delivery in the United States, report CNBC and CNN.

The certification falls under part 135 of FAA regulations, and will allow Amazon’s drones to carry property “beyond [their] visual line of sight.”

Amazon’s drone project has been in the works since 2013, with the goal of making deliveries by drone in 30 minutes or less. In June of 2019, Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, projected the drone project launch in several months. It never did.

Still, David Carbon, who took over the drone project this past March, said that the “certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world.”

With a greater focus on social distancing, Amazon’s contactless delivery system has made strides. Within the past year, UPS and Wing have received similar certifications from the FAA to incorporate drones into their delivery systems.

Facebook users in Australia may be blocked from sharing news

Facebook warned Australian users that they may no longer be allowed to share local and international news on its social media platform if the country moves forward with new legislation requiring companies to pay media outlets for their news, according to CNN.

Facebook is not the only company protesting this legislation. Last month, Google used its home search page to announce that this legislation would negatively impact users searching experience, as well as have dire consequences for YouTube users.

Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia wrote, "We already invest millions of dollars in Australian news businesses and, during discussions over this legislation, we offered to invest millions more."

But Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Australia doesn’t “respond to coercion or heavy handed threats wherever they come from."

This legislation passed the public consultation phase in August but has not been put to a vote in parliament.

Four ways Apple could end its app war

The triangle of conflict between Apple, app creators, and app users has been longstanding. However New York Times Columnist Shira Ovide and Jacob Eithing, founder of the design app RevenueCat, propose four things Apple could do to walk back the tensions.

Specify how to fix rejected apps. Apple’s rulebook for app acceptance is longer than the constitution, yet app developers often get no explanation for why their app was rejected, even if the menu just needed tweaking. Providing a simple explanation could save app developers a lot of frustration.

Improve Apple’s payment technology. While it may be convenient for Apple users to pay for apps using a face scan or their fingerprint, it can take app developers weeks to write software linking their app to apple’s proprietary system.

Clarify the grey zone. For many app purchases, Apple’s commission policies are fairly straightforward: purchases of real-world items such as a book or an uber ride have no commission, while virtual items such as e-books require a 30 percent commission.

However, when apps offer services, such as personal training or cooking classes, that are a hybrid of real-world and virtual content, Apple is not clear about when a commission will or will not be charged.

Consider an independent app review. There is an inherent conflict of interest between app developers and apple’s competing apps. Creating an independent app review would “make sure [Apple] isn’t unfairly punishing rival apps.”

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