This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing May 3, 2021.
🚀 It Didn’t Explode
SpaceX has successfully landed its Starship SN15 prototype following its most recent test flight. As with previous test flights, SpaceX launched the prototype Starship, ascended to an altitude of about 10,000 km, performed a controlled “belly flop” descent, then relit two of its Raptor rocket engines midair, flipped itself back to a nose-up orientation, and landed itself vertically at a designated landing pad.
Our Take: We’ve been keeping you updated on SpaceX’s Starship project test flights, and this one was the most exciting yet! SpaceX sort of landed a previous Starship prototype (SN10), but it experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly (💥) shortly thereafter. This was the first Starship prototype that didn’t explode after its first test flight, and that is yet another exciting step towards making humanity a multi planet species!
📈 Big Earnings in Big Tech
Who in Big Tech didn’t just have a blowout quarter? Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google each notched at least a 44% increase in sales, compared with the year-ago quarter. Total profit tripled for Amazon, and doubled for Apple, Google, and Facebook. Consumer spending led to an overall 6.4% GDP growth rate for the quarter.
Our Take: Consumers (and advertisers) are seeing the light at the end of the corona tunnel as vaccine coverage increases and restrictions ease across the country. Sadly, the recovery of small business end of the spectrum is probably going to take quite a bit longer. There are presently 34% fewer small businesses open nationally compared with January 2020. We hope to see significant improvement in the small business outcomes in the near future.
⚔️ Battle Royale
Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple is officially on trial. You may remember that video game maker Epic Games declared war on both Apple and Google, following removal of its popular Fortnite game from the App Store and Google Play over policy violations.
To recap, Epic deliberately introduced a mechanism in its iOS and Android apps which circumvented Apple’s and Google’s financial transaction fees–in deliberate violation of both companies’ policies about in-app purchases.
Apple and Google promptly removed Epic’s app from their respective stores, citing the obvious policy violations. Epic was prepared for this outcome, almost immediately launching a PR campaign and filing lawsuits accusing each of engaging in monopolistic behavior. A trial has not yet been set for the case against Google.
Our Take: In a way, Epic Games stepped up to the plate on behalf of all app developers to raise serious questions (and hopefully get serious answers) about how antitrust laws play out in the app economy. This case could lead to serious changes in app monetization, and we’ll be watching with great interest.
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