NewsBytes Briefing: Fortnite removed from app stores, and more
In the updates since last night, Fortnite made major headlines. The game was pulled from Apple and Google's app stores after it snuck in an update that bypassed the two companies' payment systems and allowed players to pay directly for in-app purchases. Following the removal, the title's developer, Epic Games, sued both Apple and Google over antitrust violations. Here are other developments.
Epic Games, in its case against Google, also alleged that the internet giant broke its business deals. The company claims it planned a special Fortnite launcher for OnePlus customers around the world but Google forced the Chinese giant to "renege" the deal. It also demanded LG, another mobile-making company Epic Games was in talks with, to do the same.
While battling it out against Epic, Google pushed important updates for its products. The company announced a new Wear OS update to make launching apps 20% faster on smartwatches as well as rolled out the ability to see where a live match is streaming on Google Search. It also updated Search to show travelers trends about flight operations and hotel occupancy for various locations.
Facebook's Instagram announced the plan to start asking suspicious accounts to verify their identities. The change will only affect those accounts that are seen engaging in questionable, seemingly inauthentic activities like using bots to manipulate the platform or having followers from a different country. Facebook also launched its Voting Information Center for the 2020 US election.
Among other things, Microsoft announced that its Surface Duo dual-screen smartphone will go on sale on September 10 at $1,399 and receive three years of Android updates. Further, ByteDance drew flak for censoring anti-China content on its news app in Indonesia; Apple was reported to be working on a dedicated fitness subscription, and Game Developers Conference was rescheduled to July 2021.
On Thursday, India reported roughly 64,000 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 24.6 lakh. The death toll went past 48,000. For a preventive vaccine, Hyderabad's Biological E. Limited entered an agreement with Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary to develop and enhance the manufacturing of the pharma giant's candidate shot Ad26.COV2-S. It also partnered with the Baylor College of Medicine to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.