A new digital life, the same old problems
Is part of this article On the tech newsletter. You can Sign up here To get the day of the week.
At the heart of so many battles about digital life is a question: What happens to us on the Internet that is much higher quality than the old ways of the analog world?
It’s about selling products on Amazon, distributing apps on smartphone app stores, trying to make a living on YouTube, or renting a house on Airbnb. In all these cases, people are complaining about the costs, rules and uncertainties of business activities that were even more burdensome in the old days, if they were possible at all.
Some of these complaints are in the wrong place, and some reflect a basic anxiety about online life. The Internet promised to keep the old ways, and it also took away the power of old gatekeepers, like Hollywood owners or big box stores, who said that people should try to make their own choices. no. But they have been replaced by new and equally powerful digital gatekeepers like Google and Apple who can decide who wins or loses.
I’m thinking about this topic because of a recent email from an on-tech reader in a token called Susan, about app developers who say that Apple imposes unreasonable costs and complications on them and iPhone users. does.
For many, many years, craftsmen have shared profits with the shop and they sell their handicrafts on shipments. When I started in the 70’s, it was 60% for me and 40% for the shop owner. Later, the commission was sometimes 50/50.
That’s why I’m a bit worried about the app store programmers charging for apps. What’s the difference between an app store and a store owner? Both are responsible for providing space for the display, to reassure the quality buyer.
Susan is not disproving the app developers’ complaints, but she is providing helpful context: this has always been the case and often for good reason.
Stores have long determined which products appear on their shelves and how aggressively they are developed for potential buyers. Virtual for Apple apps is doing its job virtually. And as Susan (and Apple) put it, traditional stores typically offer a much lower retail price for a product than Apple’s commission of up to 30% on any app transaction, such as video subscriptions.
It is understandable to compare the old world with digital and think: this new method is not so surprising, is it? That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there.
I’ve also heard people ask if it’s fair that some members of Congress are trying to change the law to prevent Amazon from creating its own brand and coffee brand that competes with merchants in Amazon’s digital goods. Do However, traditional retailers have always done this with their store versions of Telenol and Chairs. When people live a life of entertainment it is always grinding, why are people making videos on YouTube or tick talk and complaining about its poor speed and unexpected salaries?
These are fair points. But I also think that these complaints are a unique reflection of expectations and realities about the Internet. Now anyone can create and post anything online, but it can be surprisingly difficult to pay attention. Insert new gatekeepers that can be as powerful and flexible as the old ones.
Someone who makes cat toys no longer has to convince a store to sell their product. She can set up her own website or sell on Amazon. But it can still cost a fortune ad on Google or Amazon just to make a note.
Similarly, a talented actor can make YouTube videos and quit trying to visit the Hollywood Studio system. But he wants Google’s algorithm to look and ultimately pay. A person with a great idea for a video game can develop an app instead of persuading a big company to make a game, but he relies almost entirely on the orders of app store owners like Google and Apple. (Dozens of lawyers filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, alleging that the company abused its authoritarian power.)
It’s still a miracle that people can now reach billions of potential fans with just a few clicks. The old ways were cumbersome and difficult, but the frustration with the new ways is real.
This is entirely Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook: In an excerpt from my colleagues’ new book on the company, Sheera Frankl and Cecilia Kang said that over the past five years, Facebook’s crises have made Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s second-in-command, less influential.
I need a database to track all tech casesDozens of attorney generals have filed lawsuits against Google, the fourth such no-confidence motion filed in the state by federal or state officials in October. It alleges that Google has misused its power over Android phones and imposed unfair conditions on app developers. The lawsuit also puts pressure on Apple, which operates its iPhone app store in a similar way, reports David McCabe and Dai Waka Baishi.
Main kitty: My colleagues Hacky Hooda and Mike Eves write that the three-dimensional digital image of the “Wrestling Size Kit” is attracting crowds and fans in Tokyo. The digital billboard calico pops up briefly to greet people and does a lot of sniffing like real cats.
We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what you want from us. You can reach us email@example.com.
If you do not already have this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up here. You can also read Past on the tech column.