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A Taylor Swift-inspired ode to Epic Games v. Apple

June 4, 2021, 2:01 PM UTC

(With apologies to Taylor Swift and her instant classic “Cardigan,” an ode to the just-completed Epic Games v Apple trial. Best read while playing the original song.)

Gonzalez Rogers district judge
All those lawyers hold a grudge
When you’re a judge they assume you know nothing

Epic games, Apple suit
iOS app store loot
When you’re a judge they assume you know nothing

But you knew Tim’s
Sweeney’s and the Cook’s
sitting in your courtroom, you
You knew them
Hand inside our wallets
so much in-app purchase, you

And when Big Tech went too far: antitrust
It’s a monopoly
You put them on and asked the big questions

A cut for Tim’s a cut from all
His app store, inside his wall
When you’re a judge they assume you know nothing

But you knew them
Playing hide-and-seek with
paying less for Fortnite, you
You knew them
Anti-steering the developers
Monetizing your IP, you

And when Big Tech went too far: antitrust
It’s a monopoly
You put them on and asked the big questions

To pay on phones and other zones
Was all Eddy wanted
But you groan about the clones
App store review failin’

‘Cause you knew them
Bringin’ mobile gamers
Despite all the disclaimers, you
You knew them
Tried to claim the freedom
Android over iPhone, you
You knew them
Askin’ what’s the problem
with a cheaper option, you
When you’re a judge they assume you know nothing

But you knew he’d cut the take for a bunch of them
Question is why’d he give them such a deal
The pressure of suits would force commission cuts
‘Cause you knew nothing was competition
You knew investigations for the longest time

Chasin’ profits on the services line
Tim knew he’d need billions that the stock required
And they’d be holdin’ at two trillion dollar
And they knew Wall Street’d want the dough
Verdict’s down to you
And verdict’s down to you
Verdict’s down

And when Big Tech went too far: antitrust
It’s a monopoly
You put them on and asked the big questions

Aaron Pressman


Stuck in a tracker and I can't get out of it. It won't happen until later this year, but Google plans to give Android users the ability to opt out of advertiser tracking on Android phones much as Apple has done for iPhone users. Unlike Apple, Google won't set non-tracking as the default, however, Bloomberg reports. Speaking of tracking, Apple says it will offer an Android app for its new Airtags trackers that will allow non-iPhone users to participate in the network and find lost stuff—or detect if they're being surreptitiously tracked.

Cut me some hack. Back in November, we discussed the Supreme Court's review of prosecutors using, or misusing, the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to accuse people of hacking for pretty much run-of-the-mill activity online. On Thursday, the SCOTUS rejected the overreaching, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett writing that the government's interpretations of the law would “would attach criminal penalties to a breathtaking amount of commonplace computer activity.”

Don't drive cyberpunk. Then again, some hacking is clearly illegal and really, really bad. The ransomware explosion that took down a key pipeline and half the meat industry is becoming an international relations issue. President Biden plans to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to the hacker attacks that have originated in Russia. The pair of world leaders are meeting on June 16 in Geneva.

All I could do was cry. After weeks of rumors, Twitter took the wraps off its new subscription service for power users, Twitter Blue, though it will debut first in Canada and Australia. There's no editing of posted tweets still, but there's some sort of delayed posting feature to preview tweets before they go up. There's also a bookmarks folder for saving tweets and a "reader mode" for easier timeline review. No timeline from the company on when the service will be available in the U.S.

In the line of hire. With more women than men out of work amid the pandemic, Amazon on Thursday expanded its “returnship” program, promising to hire up to 1,000 people in the next several years. The program provides paid job training to candidates who have left the workforce for a year or more—usually meaning women who stopped working to take care of young children or other relatives.

Offline. The newest annual survey of smartphone ownership and broadband usage by Pew Research shows both reaching all-time highs of 85% and 77% respectively. Among Americans who do not have broadband at home, 45% cited cost as a reason and 25% said they did not have adequate access.


As one of my final reporting trips, I was able to interview Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg in person in New York City last month. Of course we talked about 5G and all the latest wireless tech. But Vestberg also offered some interesting advice about time management:

In 2009, at Ericsson, we decided there’s six things you need to do as a CEO. So I said, “Let’s do a forecast of what percentage of time I should be doing each of them.” Since then, I’ve measured every hour I work. There are three external and three internal things. The external ones are being in big scenes, meeting shareholders, meeting customers. Whenever it’s something where you say, “I am the only one at Verizon who can do it.” Going onstage with [Apple CEO] Tim Cook [to announce the first 5G iPhone], nobody else could do that. Internally, the three areas are about talent, strategy, and governance.

And I measure them in order to see that I actually spend the time on the most important things. Because it’s very easy in a company like this, to get bogged down on one big issue. But you know, there should be other people solving it, and you should actually attend to things that they cannot do. So that’s how I’ve defined my work—and still do today. 


A few great long reads I came across this week:

Did Paying a Ransom for a Stolen Magritte Painting Inadvertently Fund Terrorism? (Vanity Fair)
The theft of a deeply personal painting by the Belgian artist was a national tragedy. Now an investigation points to a tragedy greater still.

All hail King Pokémon! (Input)
Gary Haase has amassed the world’s most expensive Pokémon card collection, valued at over $10 million. So why isn’t he cashing in?

These architects popularized the open office. Now they say ‘the open office is dead’ (Fast Company)
Clive Wilkinson Architects championed open offices for big companies such as Google and Microsoft. Now, as the pandemic has led to a massive overhaul of work life, they envision something completely different.

Kate Winslet Has No Filter (New York Times)
The star of ‘Mare of Easttown’ is back on the sides of buses. Without airbrushing.


Force of nature: How the unstoppable Marc Benioff fueled Salesforce’s stratospheric rise By Michal Lev-Ram

EA’s CEO on the pandemic-driven video game boom and streaming’s future By Jonathan Vanian

Here’s a list of the best led big U.S. companies—and Facebook tops it By Lance Lambert

What programmer shortage? ‘Low-code’ tools let ordinary workers create apps By Aaron Pressman

Up nearly 3,000% this year, the new king of the meme stocks continues to soar By Bernhard Warner

Apple’s MagSafe tech in some iPhones could present risk to people with pacemakers By Chris Morris

‘The Sunday effect’: Why does crypto tend to crash on weekends? By Jessica Mathews

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