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When you buy an app for your iPhone, 30 percent of the purchase price normally goes to Apple.
That's the standard commission, and it's also the core issue in an antitrust class action lawsuit against the tech company that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear today.
The case, Apple v. Pepper, has roots in litigation that started not long after the iPhone was first introduced in 2007. It's been filed, dismissed, reinstated, and appealed many times.
In short, the plaintiffs claim that Apple has created an illegal monopoly by requiring app developers to sell to consumers only through the app store, and that iPhone users pay too much for apps as a result.
The oral argument comes, coincidentally, just as one of the company behind one of the most popular apps, Netflix, is taking baby steps toward weaning itself off the app store. It's guiding iPhone subscribers to renew using an in-house subscription method that doesn't require paying Apple a commission.
It all means that whether it's through the courts, market pressure, or competition, the app store you've become very familiar with might face some serious changes--probably the biggest changes since it first rolled out more than a decade ago.
Here's what else I'm reading today:
People still really want to work at Tesla
In 2017, more than half a million entry level job-seekers applied for internships and other positions at Tesla, which was twice as many as 2016. On the student career services app Handshake, it's second only to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in terms of student interest.
Even after a year in which it's faces production challenges and a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement, it reports it's still hearing from more job-seekers this year than last year. The attraction? "Instant gratification," one engineer who worked there three years said. "You see these incredible things you've worked on come to fruition, on the road, in months."
--Kelsey Gee and Tim Higgins, The Wall Street Journal
How to compete with Amazon and Walmart
You're going up against multibillion dollar retailers. How can you possibly compete, especially at the holidays?
Maybe by using a yearlong sales funnel, mixing it up with different delivery services, rolling out limited time products, and being really, really creative.
--Guadalupe Gonzalez, Inc.
Amazon calls the cops (allegedly)
Black Friday is a thing in Europe, despite the fact that Europeans don't have a Thanksgiving holiday, and thousands of Amazon workers went on strike for the day to protest working conditions. Now Amazon stands accused of doing something unusual in Spain: calling police and asking the authorities to enforce worker productivity inside a warehouse in Madrid.
The police say they were "dumbfounded" by the request, according to a Spanish newspaper, El Confidencial. Amazon says the allegation that it tried to get cops to enforce productivity is "ludicrous."
--Isobel Asher Hamilton and Ruqayyah Moynihan, Business Insider
How Salesforce will deal with ethical issues
Employees at Salesforce objected to the company's working with the U.S. Border Patrol. Rather than give up the contract or reject the employee complaints, the company created a new Ethical and Humane Use Office, with advisors from Georgetown Law School, Harvard University, Amnesty International, and other institutions.
"The idea is that we have a structure and a vehicle to engage not only our employees, but also key stakeholders, to have these discussions about where is all this technology going," CEO Marc Benioff told Recode founder Kara Swisher during a recent interview.
--Minda Zetlin, Inc.
Taylor Swift's New Deal
Taylor Swift signed a new record deal with Universal Music Group and Republic Records this month, and when she announced it on Instagram, she highlighted an unusual provision---one that benefits not only Swift, but every single artist UMG has under contract.
Specifically, whenever UMG sees a windfall from its Spotify shares, it has to give a portion to its artists. The details aren't quite filled in, but Swift said on Instagram that this detail "meant more to me than any other deal point."
--Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone