Apple is making a big shift in App Store fees, Duolingo raises more funding and Pfizer releases updated vaccine results. This is your Daily Crunch for November 18, 2020.
The big story: Apple cuts App Store fees
Apple is cutting the 30% fee it normally charges for App Store transactions to 15% for some developers — specifically, those who, after Apple’s commission, earn less than $1 million per year.
The company estimates that this will impact the “vast majority” of apps, with more details about eligibility coming in December, before the change takes effect on January 1. Apple has faced increasingly vocal criticism over these fees from companies like Epic Games (whose founder Tim Sweeney compared Epic’s legal battle to “civil rights fights”), and the issue has also come up during antitrust hearings.
“The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.”
The tech giants
Trump will lose protected Twitter status after his presidency — Twitter has at various times acknowledged that Donald Trump isn’t bound by the same rules that govern the rest of us, but CEO Jack Dorsey said that won’t be the case after he vacates the White House.
Google Pay gets a major redesign with a new emphasis on personal finance — With today’s update and redesign, Google is keeping all the core features intact but also taking the service in a new direction.
Facebook launches E.gg, an experimental collage-making app — The company has described the app as a “digital zine creator” and “GIF collage bonanza.”
Startups, funding and venture capital
Marissa Mayer’s startup launches its first official product, Sunshine Contacts — It’s designed to improve the process of organizing, updating and sharing contact information with others.
Language-learning app Duolingo confirms it has raised $35M on a $2.4B valuation — This is a sizable jump from Duolingo’s $1.65 billion valuation earlier this year, when General Atlantic quietly put $10 million into the company.
Quid raises $320M to loan money to startup employees using their equity as collateral — Quid has already provided loans to employees at 24 companies, including Unity, Palantir, Crowdstrike, Uber and Lyft.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
What China’s fintech market can teach the world — In China, digital payments through mobile phones are ubiquitous, and there is incredible innovation around lending, investments and digital currencies.
With a 2021 IPO in the cards, what do we know about Robinhood’s Q3 performance? — Robinhood’s payment for order flow rose only modestly during Q3, according to a TechCrunch analysis of the company’s disclosures.
Dear Sophie: Can an H-1B co-founder own a Delaware C Corp? — The latest edition of attorney Sophie Alcorn’s advice column answering immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.
(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in final clinical trial results analysis — This is an even better efficacy rate than Pfizer reported previously.
Trump fires top US cybersecurity official Chris Krebs for debunking false election claims — Last week, Krebs’ agency released a statement noting that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
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