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Apple Facing Fees Probe As iPhone Slammed Over Poor COVID-19 Performance

Apple has defended the fees it charges developers who sell software and services through the company’s App Store, as the Company struggles to fix a problem with the Federal Government COVID-19 app on iPhones.

Ahead of a congressional antitrust hearing next week in the USA Apple who some claims are losing their technology edge, touted a study it commissioned from consulting firm Analysis Group that concluded Apple’s 30% cut from developers is standard industry practice.

Several big app store developers are set to claim that Apple is ripping them off when all they do is host an app.

Yesterday Government Services Minister Stuart Robert fired a broadside at Apple over the COVIDSafe contact tracing app. He says the US tech giant could “fix” an issue “tomorrow” involving locked iPhones not picking up all Bluetooth signals from similar iPhones.

He claimed that Android smartphones operated significantly smarter than an Apple iPhones.

Speaking on Sky News Australia, Mr Robert said a phone’s ability to detect the Bluetooth signal from nearby phones varied from handset to handset. “It varies from handset to handset, from operating system to operating system, and from Android to Google,” he told Sky News.

The app which has been downloaded 6.7M times uses Bluetooth to discover and record the encrypted IDs of other phones nearby so they can be traced later if necessary.

epa08248313 A man wearing a face mask walks past the Apple logo at an Apple store in Shanghai, China, 21 February 2020 (issued 26 February 2020). More than a month since the COVID-19 and coronavirus outbreak, the usually bustling streets of Shanghai are relatively empty as the city continues to live under virus control measures. Shanghai, which has a population of over 24 million people, has reported 336 cases and three deaths in relation to COVID-19. According to reports, approximately 80 percent of people in the reported cases have recovered. EPA/LIU XINGZHE

“The effect is, from Android to Android is excellent, close to 100 per cent. The effectiveness from Android to iOS drops down. The effectiveness from an iOS iPhone 11 running the latest software will vary when it connects to an iPhone version seven.” he added.

When pressed on whether iPhones detect other iPhones, Mr Robert told interviewer Annelise Nielsen that Apple could fix this “tomorrow”. “Apple could fix this tomorrow, they could actually ensure that the Bluetooth strength works at the highest possible level tomorrow, for applications built in a sovereign framework,” Mr Robert said.

In the USA Apple is set to be accused of price gouging revenue from app developers.

Currently Apple’s App Store is being scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. and Europe, after some developers have complained for years about high fees, overly strict rules and that the company’s own apps have an unfair advantage on its platform and devices.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is scheduled to testify at the USA hearing by a House antitrust panel that is investigating competition in the technology industry. The CEOs of Amazon, Facebook. and Alphabet. will also appear.

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