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  • Apple Begins App Store Defense in Epic Antitrust Fight

    Apple Begins App Store Defense in Epic Antitrust Fight

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. began Monday to present its case in the closely watched antitrust trial with Epic Games Inc. -- a defense that will include testimony from Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.Epic already has presented witnesses for two weeks in federal court in Oakland, California. First up on the witness stand for Apple is Phil Schiller, an Apple Fellow who runs the App Store and previously was its senior vice president of worldwide marketing for decades.Schiller is a smooth, technologically-savvy speaker who made his mark as Apple’s top spokesman for product announcements. He’s known as Apple’s chief defender and guards the company’s brand with passion. Aside from Steve Jobs and Cook, Schiller has been one of the most important assets at Apple since its resurgence in the late 1990s.Schiller, who previously testified in Apple’s 2011 suit accusing Samsung of copying patented designs for mobile devices, took on responsibility for the App Store business in 2015, and last year moved out of his former marketing chief role. Despite taking on the App Store officially only 6 years ago, he was a critical part of its development and launch in 2008 and was typically involved in key decisions regarding developers, app review and new features.The most anticipated witness will be Apple’s closer: Cook. When Apple introduces new products, Cook’s typical strategy is to come on stage, discuss the company’s values, and then hand-off the stage to his lieutenants. This time, Cook plans to discuss the company’s business model and why the App Store operates as it does. It will also mark Cook’s first testimony in court, as he bypassed earlier trials with Samsung and Qualcomm Inc.In filings with the court, Apple said that Schiller will discuss the development and launch of the App Store, policies and guidelines, the company’s business model, and competition faced by the company.How Apple’s App Store Sparked an Epic Trial: QuickTakeIn his first minutes on the stand Monday, Schiller answered questions about how Apple stopped having separate profit and loss statements for different units after the company was reorganized under Jobs’ watch in 1997. How much Apple makes from the App Store is central to Epic’s case that the marketplace for apps for mobile devices is run like a monopoly.Epic sued Apple last year amid a backlash against the technology giant-- with billions of dollars in revenue on the line -- from global regulators and some app developers who say its standard App Store fee of 30% and other policies are unjust and self-serving.The Apple-Epic fight blew up in August when the game maker told customers it would replace Apple’s in-app purchase system with its own, circumventing Apple’s commissions from add-ons inside of Fortnite. Apple then removed the game, cutting off access for more than a billion customers.Over the past two weeks, Epic executives including CEO Tim Sweeney and representatives from Apple rivals including Microsoft Corp. and Nvidia Corp. took the stand to help the North Carolina-based Fortnite maker present its argument. Apple’s lawyers tried to punch holes in Epic’s case with cross-examination questions to witnesses aimed at showing how the iPhone maker competes with video game consoles and Google Android devices in a large game distribution market.After Schiller, Apple software chief Craig Federighi is expected to take the stand to discuss engineering and security in the App Store and Apple’s products. Federighi re-joined Apple in the late 2000s as a senior executive on its Mac software engineering group.In 2011, he was promoted to the head of Mac software engineering, and, a year later, was tapped to replace Apple’s iPhone and iPad software chief. He now oversees software for both platforms as well as underlying technology for Apple’s other operating systems. He’s also a key decision maker for the App Store.(Updates with recap of Epic’s case)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • IBM boss: Global computer chip shortage could last two years
    Yahoo Finance UK

    IBM boss: Global computer chip shortage could last two years

    Jim Whitehurst, president of the US tech company, told the BBC there was “a big lag between when a technology is developed and when a fabrication plant goes into construction and when chips come out".

  • Korea Unveils $450 Billion Push for Global Chipmaking Crown

    Korea Unveils $450 Billion Push for Global Chipmaking Crown

    (Bloomberg) -- South Korea unveiled ambitious plans to spend roughly $450 billion to build the world’s biggest chipmaking base over the next decade, joining China and the U.S. in a global race to dominate the key technology.Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. will lead more than 510 trillion won of investment in semiconductor research and production in the years to 2030 under a national blueprint devised by President Moon Jae-in’s administration. They’ll be among 153 companies fueling the decade-long push, intended to safeguard the nation’s most economically crucial industry. Moon got a briefing from chip executives on the initiative Thursday during a visit to the country’s most advanced chip factory, a Samsung plant south of Seoul.Samsung is boosting its spending by 30% to $151 billion through 2030 while Hynix is committing $97 billion to expansion at existing facilities in addition to its $106 billion plan for four new plants in Yongin, co-Chief Executive Officer Park Jung-ho said during the event.“Major global competitors are pressing ahead with massive investment to be the first to take the future market,” Moon said in a speech. “Our companies have been taking risks and innovating as well and have completed preparations for tumultuous times.”The effort comes at a time when the U.S., China and the European Union seek to shore up their semiconductor capabilities after a global chip shortage exposed a reliance on just a handful of Asian manufacturers and hobbled efforts to repair pandemic-scarred economies. The shortages are now spreading from autos to smartphones and displays, elevating semiconductors onto the agendas of governments from Washington to Brussels and Beijing.At stake is a technology fundamental to groundbreaking advances from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles and connected homes. South Korea, a security ally of the U.S. and a major exporter to China, has been walking a tightrope between the two while bolstering its own production prowess. Semiconductors account for the largest share of South Korea’s exports and chip exports are expected to double to $200 billion by 2030, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.Read more: Biden Finds a Key Ally Wary of His Bid to Outpace China on ChipsLikening semiconductors to rice -- a global dietary staple -- the ministry called them “strategic weapons” in a race for superior technology intensifying among not just firms but also nations.The government seeks to build a “K-semiconductor belt” that stretches dozens of kilometers south of Seoul and brings together chip designers, manufacturers and suppliers, according to the ministry.Samsung and Hynix make the majority of the world’s memory chips, basic semiconductors that handle storage for all devices. But one area South Korea has been lagging in is the ability to produce advanced logic chips that handle complex calculations for tasks like AI and data processing, a specialty dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which makes Apple Inc.’s iPhone processors. Samsung aims to compete more aggressively in this area, securing some of Nvidia Corp.’s graphics card business and pursuing a bigger share of Qualcomm Inc.’s mobile chips. Hynix too has announced ambitions to get into logic chips.Read more: Data Centers Doubling Is Next Driver of Chip Demand, Hynix SaysThe Korean government will incentivize its domestic industry with tax breaks, lower interest rates, eased regulations and reinforced infrastructure, hoping to see its chipmakers make up the distance from the global leaders, the ministry said. The government will also secure adequate water supply for the next 10 years in the targeted region and reinforce power supplies, both essential to advanced chipmaking factories.Korea’s blueprint echoes efforts underway around the world. President Joe Biden wants to dedicate $50 billion to U.S. semiconductor research and production, part of an overall ambition to safeguard America’s supply chains. And China has earmarked hundreds of billions of dollars toward developing its own chipmaking industry, wary of a reliance on Western-designed imports.South Korea also aims to attract additional foreign investment in advanced technology. Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holdings NV signaled it intends to spend 240 billion won to build a training center in Hwaseong while California-based Lam Research Corp. plans to double its capacity in the country, the ministry said.”South Korea is essentially beckoning global suppliers to come and work with its homegrown chipmakers so it can build an ecosystem on its soil rather than see them relocate to the U.S. and elsewhere,” said Kim Yang-paeng, semiconductor analyst at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade. “Broadening its investment to foundries and logic chips also guarantees that it has something to fall back on should anything go wrong with the memory chip industry that it’s dominant in.”In terms of direct contributions, the country wants to help train 36,000 chip experts between 2022 and 2031, contribute 1.5 trillion won toward chip research and development and will start discussing legislation tailored to assist the semiconductor industry.(Updates with quotes from president and analyst from fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.