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👋 Good morning! It’s Friday!! And before we hop into today’s tech news and views, we’d like to thank OPPO for sponsoring this newsletter!

Oppo Find X5 Pro Promotional Image

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Head over to OPPO to learn more about the Find X5 Pro and get this slick new flagship in your pocket.

Actual rules against Big Tech are here

iMessage app icon

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Here are some headlines after the EU agreed to create very significant rules to “limit the market power of big online platforms”:

What’s going on? In short:

  • Sweeping new antitrust legislation (europa.eu), covering elements like interoperability, meaning iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger “will have to open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request.”
  • There are also limits to targeted advertising, and “to include a requirement to allow users to freely choose their browser, virtual assistants, or search engines.”
  • The legislation hasn’t passed yet, but it’s set to come by October.

How it applies:

  • The scope is that it’ll apply to “gatekeepers”: companies worth €75 billion ($82 billion), with 45 million monthly users or more; and a “platform” e.g. social network.
  • Think: Apple, Meta, Google, but also Booking.com, and possibly Airbnb. But not, as far as I can tell, the likes of Spotify, and Uber, which only meet some conditions? It’s unclear, but it’s very clear that the biggest players are implicated.
  • A massive component of this is that the EU isn’t threatening the usual meagre fines.
  • Fines for not complying will be “up to 10% of total worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year, and 20% in case of repeated infringements.”
  • For Apple, that would start at a $36.5B fine, for example. Yikes.

Does this matter?

  • It’s important because the EU is big enough to force global changes by itself — in theory.
  • But, if you’re not accustomed to the EU’s complexity, it is hard to understand. These things are first discussed for years, then announced, then the announcement says nothing will change until it actually becomes law, then it could be watered down, or legal challenges apply, and so on.
  • It’s also consistently difficult to parse: Like any government or large organization, it’s shrouded by an impenetrable sequence of acronyms, odd words (“8-hour long trilogues”, DMA, FRAND rules, COREPER meetings, EU EC…) and people shouting that wait, this will lead to worse outcomes because of unintended consequences.
  • For example, already some are saying this means a decrease in privacy, as encryptions likely need to be broken to allow interoperability. Others are saying maybe a secure message interchange could exist.
  • There’s a German word that may apply: Verschlimmbessern. This is literally making something worse with the intention of making it better (A German friend joked, “you only start using it when you are over 50 years old”).
  • And one thought is that Big Tech will avoid complications by simply exiting the EU for their messenger apps. That’s one way to comply without being fined. But that would be harder for the likes of Apple, with iMessage so critical.
  • So, by 2023, will you be able to use WhatsApp to message someone via iMessage? That’s the intention, but it’s unclear if it’ll work out.

Roundup

🔜 Here are all the brands reportedly readying Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus phones: OnePlus (OP10 Pro Ultra?), Xiaomi (Xiaomi 12 Ultra?), and Lenovo/Motorola, at least (Android Authority).

💻 Dell’s XPS 15 and XPS 17 get Intel’s 12th-gen chips, and that’s about the only difference from the 2021 models. I want to upgrade my XPS but I’m …not super convinced by this? Definitely waiting for reviews (The Verge).

rickroll

It’s been 35 years of Rickrolling — sort of!

Rick Astley is celebrating his 1987 debut album with reissue (AP). It was very successful, don’t get me wrong. But in this era, 35 years later, Astley is the face of the classic meme.

  • Rick has always been in on the joke about Never Gonna Give You Up, which emerged as a meme in 2007.
  • And accordingly, he’s very likable, and is even on a “57-date ‘Mixtape 2022’ US arena tour” with a bunch of artists.
  • As he says about being a star, twice: “The overwhelming thing is just gratitude. If I’m honest, it’s simply that. I’ve had a really nice, comfortable existence because I got to make a pop record in 1987.
  • Happily, Rick hasn’t sold anything as an NFT either, yet, at least.
  • Unlike this guy, which is your excruciating bonus fun, and proves NFTs have gone too far (Observatorial).

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.



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