It is Sunday and we have determined the winners and losers of the week. There was great news week for free tech workshops in Europe but there were negative headlines for the social network TikTok. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the week just gone in tech.
Somehow this week felt strange. A bit like the calm before the storm. A hurricane coming at us from the north. We all hope that OnePlus’ announced Nord will not end up as a mild launch event and we are eagerly awaiting the coming week. Then there is the presentation of the golden hope from South Korea. Last week Samsung confirmed the design of the Galaxy Note 20 with a short teaser film. My dear colleagues and I agree that this flagship will be hyper-sexy. But it’s a matter of taste, of course!
Winner of the week: Apple and our right to repair
Apple-haters, sorry! From now on you have one less reason to be upset about the company from Cupertino. For far too long Apple had stuck to the policy of only supplying original spare parts for its products to certified partners. This not only limited our right to repair, but independent repair shops had to obtain either creatively acquire original parts for Apple products or use alternatives.
The problem is that these components are often of inferior quality. I remember only too well that I sent my iPhone X to a repair service in Hamburg, Germany, which allegedly uses original parts to replace my display. Two months later, the display came off the case and showed strange stains. A check at Apple showed that no original parts had been used. Nevertheless, I paid a lot to get it fixed.
These annoying situations could finally be a thing of the past, because independent repair shops should have access to original parts just like Apple’s certified partners – at the same conditions – in both Europe and North America. However, they must contractually assure that they are qualified to carry out the repairs. Apple reserves the right to audit the repair shops.
Phew, Apple has just gotten things right this week. We were actually just waiting for the rumors about Apple and Samsung not including a charger in the box of a new phone to be confirmed. Because then we would have had this headline: Winners and loser of the week: Apple and Samsung and the charger scandal.
Didn’t we have this headline this week about Samsung and Apple screwing consumers over. That’s true, but I thought about it again and came to the conclusion that we will get used to missing charging devices as we did with thick notches, missing home buttons, and the death of the headphone jack. There will be whining for a few weeks or months, then all the smartphone manufacturers will follow suit and it will become normal. It’s always like that.
Loser of the week: TikTok, TikTok … is your time up already?
I am probably too old for the much-hyped social network. Snapchat is the last trend I followed and I have to say that I’m already installing and trying out a lot, but I’ve never touched TikTok. The main reasons are the controversial security and the questionable discriminatory algorithms that filter the content. However, it is possible that TikTok’s time has now expired.
This week, many media have been covering the video service, which has been the subject of repeated criticism. This time it is serious. The Indian government has banned TikTok along with 58 other apps from China. This is dramatic for the service, since of 500 million users worldwide, 120 million live in India.
The reason given by the Indian government is security concerns. The Indian Ministry of Information Technology has received reports that user data has been transferred to servers outside the country. The blocked apps are involved in activities that could be harmful to India’s defence, national security, and public order.
The security concerns with TikTok are not new, as I mentioned at the beginning. It is not proven, but the service is suspected of sharing user data with the Chinese government. In the USA, the creators of TikTok, Bytedance, have already had to pay a million-dollar fine because user data of minors was also collected. With revenues of $17 billion in 2019, this “fine” seems downright ridiculous.
Meanwhile, the US is also considering banning the app, and Europe is looking at the service critically. Thus the press office of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection in Germany (BfDI) informed Focus: “The data processing of TikTok is the subject of deliberations at European level, in the bodies of the European Data Protection Committee (EDSA). There, it was also decided to set up a task force for this purpose.”
A task force! That sounds mega-important. Let’s see how many hand rotations TikTok still has on the clock.