Daily Crunch: European regulators examine Apple App Store

Apple’s App Store faces antitrust scrutiny, a private space company plans to install a satellite for lunar communication and Boston Dynamics expands availability of its iconic Spot robot.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for June 16, 2020.

1. Apple Pay and iOS App Store under formal antitrust probe in Europe

The European Commission confirmed that it’s formally looking into whether Apple’s rules for app developers in the App Store violate EU competition rules. The probe focuses on Apple’s mandatory requirement that app developers use the company’s proprietary in-app purchase system, as well as restrictions to their ability to inform users of alternative purchasing possibilities.

Meanwhile, Apple is tooting its own horn by releasing a study from the Analysis Group that attempted to measure the full App Store ecosystem, concluding that it facilitated $519 billion in e-commerce last year.

2. First commercial Earth-to-Moon communication relay satellite planned for 2023

Under current circumstances, communications between Earth and the Moon actually requires a huge amount of equipment. A new venture by a new private space company called CommStar Space Communications could help defray that cost, by installing a data relay satellite in between the Moon and Earth.

3. Now any US business can buy Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot for $74,500

Nine months after making Spot available in limited quantities under its Early Adopter Program, Boston Dynamics is now making its yellow and black quadruped available to any business that wants (and can afford) one.

4. T-Mobile hit by phone calling, text message outage

Customers reported yesterday that they couldn’t make or receive phone calls, with some of them saying that text messaging was also affected. The problem appears to have started at around 9 or 10am Pacific.

5. What’s next for space tech? 9 VCs look to the future

Investors focused on and familiar with space see plenty of opportunity in the market, regardless of any prevailing global economic difficulties. One big reason: Regardless of how tight purse strings get tied, space still represents a significant — and growing — source of government and defense spending. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Basecamp launches Hey, a hosted email service for neat freaks

Inbound emails to Hey users are triaged into different trays — with a central “imbox” (“im” standing for important) containing only the communications that you specify are important.

7. Demandbase acquires Engagio to bring consolidation and ‘clarity’ to B2B marketing

Both companies focus on account-based marketing, an approach where marketing and sales coordinate their outreach to specific, high-value accounts. Engagio co-founder and CEO Jon Miller told us, “Most people who aren’t super close to the category would have said we’re competitors,” — but instead, the companies have more than 30 shared customers.

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