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Everybody Store

Everybody vs. the App Store: Why companies are taking issue with Apple’s growing revenue engine – Fox Business

A host of companies, including Facebook Inc., Spotify Technology SA and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games Inc., are challenging the way Apple Inc. runs its App Store.

The App Store generates at least $15 billion in annual sales for the tech giant, according to analysts’ estimates. Critics say Apple takes too big a cut of app makers’ sales and wields monopoly power over the gateway that connects hundreds of millions of users to mobile apps.

Apple…

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Beyond Store

Is your Bed Bath & Beyond store closing? See the full list of the 63 stores slated to close by the end of 2020 – USA TODAY

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Consumers are scared to go out and retailers are floundering. Is there a future for the traditional indoor shopping mall?

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More than two months after Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. announced plans to close 200 of its namesake stores over the next two years, the company has revealed the locations of the first 63 stores that will shutter.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer – which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market – shared the list of the Bed Bath & Beyond locations closing by the end of 2020 exclusively with USA TODAY Friday.

“As we rebuild our authority and establish a truly omni-always shopping experience for our customers, we recently announced a store optimization plan that will see us establish the right network of stores to serve our customers,” company spokeswoman Jessica Joyce said in a statement to USA TODAY. 

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Stores in 29 states are slated to close with California and New York losing the most stores at six locations each.

“This is an important step in our multi-year program to create a sustainable, durable business and invest where it matters most to our digital-first customers and our people,” Joyce said Friday, adding “an exciting array of customer-inspired owned brands” will launch in 2021.

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In October, company officials announced plans to close 60 stores across all of its concepts. In January, officials said 20 of the 40 Bed Bath & Beyond stores scheduled to close would be delayed until the first half of 2020. (Here’s the list of 40 stores that closed earlier this year, which was released in January.)

The number increased to 200 closing locations, making up approximately 21% of the company’s namesake stores, in July. Bed Bath CEO Mark Tritton said closing 200 locations would save the company between $250 and $350 million annually after one-time costs.

Tritton said the COVID-19 pandemic was “felt across our business during our fiscal first quarter, including loss of sales due to temporary store closures.”

As of May 30, the company had 1,478 stores, including 955 Bed Bath & Beyond stores nationwide and in Canada, 262 stores under the names of World Market, Cost Plus World Market or Cost Plus, 127 buybuy Baby stores, 81 stores under the names Christmas Tree Shops, Christmas Tree Shops andThat! or andThat!, and 53 stores under the names Harmon, Harmon Face Values or Face Values.

While many of the stores were temporarily closed during the pandemic, the company accelerated the launch of buy-online-pickup-in-store and curbside pickup at many stores.

By the end of the May, the new services were available at nearly 60% of locations, John Hartmann, the company’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, said in July during the quarterly earnings call.

Net sales from digital channels grew 82% with sales growth of more than 100% during April and May, the company said in July when reporting quarterly earnings.

“In this COVID moment, we believe we can take this opportunity to not just simply close stores, but to pivot and reshape and truly optimize our store footprint,” Hartmann said. “We continue to believe that our physical store channel is an asset for us, as we transform into a digital-first company.”

Bed Bath & Beyond isn’t the only retailer closing stores amid the coronavirus. As many as 25,000 stores could shutter this year as retailers continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic, according to a report from Coresight Research. 

Bed Bath & Beyond stores closing list

The following 63 stores are slated to close by the end of 2020. Approximately 200 stores will close over the next two years.

Alabama Bed Bath & Beyond closures

  • Birmingham: 1640 Gadsden Highway
  • Alabaster: 300 Colonial Promenade Parkway

Arizona Bed Bath & Beyond closing

  • Phoenix: 10845 North Tatum Blvd.

California Bed Bath & Beyond closing stores

  • City of Industry: 21640 Valley Blvd.
  • Fremont: 39125 Fremont Hub
  • Mira Loma: 6365 Pats Ranch Road
  • Paso Robles: 2449 Golden Hill Road
  • Stockton: 10822 Trinity Parkway
  • Victorville: 12410 Amargosa Road

Colorado closing Bed Bath stores

  • Aurora: 23901 E. Orchard Road
  • Greeley: 4735 29th St.

Connecticut Bed Bath & Beyond closures

  • Danbury: 13 Sugar Hollow Road
  • Farmington: 1603 Southeast Road
  • Milford: 1212 Boston Post Road
  • Torrington: 1914 East Main St.

Florida Bed Bath & Beyond closings

  • Casselberry: 5803 S US Highway 17/92
  • Pembroke Pines: 11470 Pines Blvd.
  • Port St. Lucie: 10856 SW Village Parkway

Georgia Bed Bath & Beyond closure

  • Douglasville: 6680 Douglas Blvd.

Illinois Bed Bath closing stores

  • Bolingbrook: 734 East Boughton Road
  • Chicago: 2838 North Broadway
  • DeKalb: 2530 Sycamore Road
  • Orland Park: 203 Orland Park Place

Indiana Bed Bath store closures

  • Bloomington: 280 N. Gates Drive
  • Indianapolis: 6010 West 86th St.
  • Indianapolis: 8655 N. River Crossing Blvd.
  • Merrillville: 2520 East 79th Ave.

Kentucky closing Bed Bath & Beyond store

  • Lexington: 3220 Nicholasville Road

Louisiana Bed Bath store closure

  • Harvey: 901 Manhattan Blvd.

Maine Bed Bath & Beyond closing store

  • Auburn: 730 Center St.

Maryland Bed Bath & Beyond store closings

  • Gaithersburg: 558 N. Frederick Ave.
  • Hanover: 7000 Arundel Mills Circle
  • Salisbury: 2653 N. Salisbury Blvd.

Michigan Bed Bath & Beyond closing

  • Allen Park: 3180 Fairlane Drive

Missouri Bed Bath & Beyond closure

  • Kansas City: 8520 North Evanston Ave.

Nebraska Bed Bath & Beyond store closure

  • Lincoln: 5040 N. 27th Street

New Jersey Bed Bath closing stores

  • Howell: 4075 Route 9
  • Rockaway: 202 Enterprise Drive

New York Bed Bath & Beyond store closings

  • Flushing: 40-24 College Point Blvd.
  • New York: 410 E. 61st St.
  • Rochester: 3349 Monroe Ave.
  • Staten Island: 2700 Veterans Road West
  • Syracuse: 3597 W Genesee St.
  • Watertown: 21855 Towne Center Drive

North Carolina Bed Bath closing locations

  • Concord: 8241 Concord Mills Blvd.
  • Raleigh: 6270 Glenwood Ave.

Ohio Bed Bath & Beyond closing stores

  • Beavercreek: 2720 Towne Drive
  • Columbus: 1170 Polaris Parkway
  • Holland: 1230 S. Holland Sylvania Road
  • Pickerington: 1750 Hill Road North

Oregon Bed Bath & Beyond closure

  • Gresham: 719 NW 12th St.

Pennsylvania closing Bed Bath store

  • Plymouth Meeting: 2410 Chemical Road

Tennessee Bed Bath store closure

  • Nashville: 211 Opry Mills Drive

Texas Bed Bath & Beyond store closings

  • Austin: 9333 Research Blvd.
  • Hurst: 853 Northeast Mall Drive
  • Missouri City: 5752 Highway 6
  • Watauga: 7616 Denton Highway

Utah Bed Bath & Beyond closures

  • Layton: 2159 Harris Blvd.
  • West Jordan: 7142 South Plaza Center Drive

Virginia Bed Bath & Beyond closing

  • Arlington: 900 Army Navy Drive

Washington Bed Bath closure

  • Everett: 1130 SE Everett Mall Way

West Virginia Bed Bath store closure 

  • Martinsburg: 172 Retail Commons Parkway

Wisconsin Bed Bath store closings 

  • Brookfield: 605 Main St.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/18/bed-bath-beyond-store-closures-2020-list-coronavirus/3478536001/

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Apple Store

Apple’s new App Store rules carve out loopholes for xCloud, Stadia, and more – The Verge

Apple has issued new rules for its App Store in an attempt to address many of the issues that have come up over Apple’s governance of its digital storefront for iPhone devices, with updates for game streaming services, new rules for online classes, and fewer restrictions for in-app purchases on free email apps, which was the focus of Apple’s previous controversy with Hey.

Leading the changes is an explicit ruling on game streaming services like Google Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud, which Apple tells CNBC are newly allowed — but the new rules show that each and every game must also be downloadable “directly from the App Store,” and every game update must be submitted to Apple individually before a company could stream it to users. That means that Microsoft or Google can’t build a single, overarching xCloud or Stadia app that contains access to all the games.

But they can offer individual games on the App Store as separate pieces of software using their streaming tech, Apple confirms to The Verge. They don’t need to create a full download game that runs locally on the iPhone — thin clients and hybrid streaming apps are OK now. If they want a unified place for gamers to find those games, cloud gaming providers like Google and Microsoft can build “catalog”-style apps that collects and links out to those individual apps as well.

Of course, all of those game streaming apps would still be subject to Apple’s usual App Store rules, including the company’s contentious 30 percent cut, which is currently the subject of Apple’s ongoing fight with Epic Games.

Microsoft and Google would have to radically change their proposed business models and jump through many hoops to get their cloud gaming services onto the iPhone this way, though — there are enough hoops it almost feels like Apple designed the rules so it could seem benevolent while still keeping xCloud and Stadia out. (For its part, Apple tells us it genuinely looks forward to game developers putting cloud games on the store.)

While Google declined to comment on these changes, Microsoft is outright rejecting Apple’s proposal. Here’s the company’s statement:

This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.

Nvidia, which has so far not managed to bring its GeForce Now service to iOS either, also declined to comment.

Here are Apple’s full guidelines on “streaming games,” though some mentions also appear elsewhere in Apple’s revised rules:

4.9 Streaming games

Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.

4.9.1 Each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual app so that it has an App Store product page, appears in charts and search, has user ratings and review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control apps, appears on the user’s device, etc.

4.9.2 Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page.

Also clarified in the updated rules: whether digital fitness or tutoring classes have to be billed through the App Store (with Apple’s cut). Per the new guidelines, “one-to-one experiences” do not have to be billed through the App Store, but “one-to-few or one-to-many services” do require the usual in-app purchase.

Lastly, rule 3.1.3(f) also adds a formal exception for “free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web based tool,” a category that Apple says includes VOIP, cloud storage, email services, and web hosting applications, which are now exempt from having to use Apple’s in-app purchase for subscriptions. Like the other rules, there are caveats: developers cannot offer purchases inside the app itself or include a call to action to purchase elsewhere — though Apple clarified to The Verge that it’s talking about calls to action built into the app. Developers should theoretically still be free to advertise their app purchases on their own website.

The new rule here comes after Apple’s messy fight with Basecamp-developed email app Hey, which initially saw its updates rejected — and then allowed back into the App Store — due to fights over whether it was required to use Apple’s in-app purchase system (and its 30 percent fee). There was another fight with WordPress where its totally free app was seemingly forced to add in-app purchases until Apple backed down and apologized for “any confusion that we have caused.” Under the new rule, the Hey email app’s original implementation would also seem to be allowed, without the modifications that the company had to add for the free version of the app to get Apple to approve it.

Here’s Apple’s full App Store guidelines changelog.

Update, 1:50PM ET: Added Google no comment.

Correction, 2:00PM ET: Basecamp is the developer of Hey, not Bandcamp. We regret this error.

Update, 2:53PM ET: Added Nvidia no comment.

Update, 4:20PM ET: Added Apple confirmations and clarifications, and Microsoft’s statement.

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Fortnite Store

Did Fortnite just kill the App Store as we know it? – CNN

New York (CNN Business)Fortnite maker Epic Games sent shockwaves through the tech industry this week when it sued Apple and Google, claiming both companies’ app stores are monopolies. If Epic were to win the lawsuits, Apple and Google could be required to overhaul their businesses by making their app stores more favorable to developers.

The controversy arose Thursday when both Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) kicked Fortnite out of their app stores. The companies claimed Epic violated their guidelines by announcing a way for players to buy in-game currency outside their proprietary payment systems.
The gaming company was prepared for battle. Epic quickly filed its suits and released a video parodying Apple’s iconic “1984” ad, casting Apple in the role of villain. It also threw Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” slogan back at the tech company, and accused the firm of having “relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought.”
Apple and Google have not commented on Epic Games’ lawsuit. But they both pointed out that their guidelines are aimed at all developers, to “keep the store safe” from security risks.
“Epic blew it up with their big PR campaign yesterday with videos ready to go and everything,” John Bergmayer, legal director of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, told CNN Business Friday. “They were baiting Apple and Google to take their apps down from the store.”
The complaints ran to 60 pages each, and Epic has big name representation; one its lawyers ran the Justice Department’s antitrust division during the Obama administration.
“Epic retaining Christine Varney is significant,” said Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director of the Open Markets Institute. “It shows Epic is serious about this suit.”
The company is asking the court to end Apple and Google’s allegedly anti-competitive conduct. It is not asking for any damages.
Here are the issues at play and what’s at stake.

How app stores work

Android, which is open source but owned by Google, controls 85.4% of the global operating system market, while Apple has 14.6%, according to IDC.
Every mobile app must go through their app stores, which take a standard 30% cut of revenue for any in-app purchases. Developers claim the fee is too high and stymies growth. Apple doesn’t allow outside apps to be downloaded on its devices, and neither company allows developers in its app stores to circumvent their payment systems.
While Google permits outside apps to be downloaded to Android devices, Epic has complained that going outside the Google-approved process is bogged down with security pop-ups and other software restrictions. Epic originally introduced Fortnite outside of the Google Play Store, but after 18 months it launched the game there in April.
In 2019, consumers bought about $61 billion of digital goods and services from Apple’s App Store, while Google Play users spent nearly $30 billion on apps, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
The new email service Hey.com found itself at odds with Apple after asking its users to subscribe and pay Hey on its own website rather than its iOS app. Founder David Heinemeier Hansson testified on the matter at a January hearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, which is investigating Apple, Amazon, for potential anticompetitive behavior.
Hansson told CNN he’s also spoken to Justice Department antitrust officials about Hey.com’s experience with Apple.
Earlier this year, the European Commission opened two antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store, citing a complaint by Spotify.

Is Apple or Google a monopoly?

In antitrust cases, perhaps the most crucial element is establishing what the market is, the better to show harm to competition. It is in Epic’s benefit to define the market as narrowly as possible, while Apple and Google will push for a broader interpretation.
In claiming that Apple monopolizes the distribution and purchase of iOS apps, Epic Games is “going to have to convince the judge that those are markets to begin with,” John Bergmayer, legal director of consumer rights group Public Knowledge told CNN Business.
For its part, Epic Games argues that since Apple controls one billion devices, there is no other way to reach these consumers.
But if Apple convinces the judge to view the market as only its smartphones, that makes its defense far easier. Apple has only a 13.3% of the global market share of the phone market.
Apple also could argue that the 30% fee for in-app purchases pays for running the App Store and reviewing apps to ensure they are not security risks, said Jeffrey Blumenfeld, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler.
“I have a very hard time believing that the result of this lawsuit is that the court says that Apple is not permitted to control distribution of apps through its own App Store,” said Blumenfeld. For the court to rule otherwise, it would have to be “pretty strongly convinced” that consumers would be better off in the long run, he said.

Potential outcomes

If Epic wins, Apple and Google could be ordered to allow developers to sell in-app purchases without giving the tech giants a cut, said Vaheesan. The court could also rule that Apple and Google are prohibited from bundling payment services with their app stores, allowing developers to be paid directly.
Alternatively, Apple and Google could simply settle with Epic and quietly change their policies.
If Epic loses, Bergmayer, the legal director for Public Knowledge, said “at least that highlights what the limits of antitrust law currently are, so people who want change can look to other avenues.” For instance, they could ask Congress to create new antitrust laws.
The case could take years, numerous lawyers told CNN Business. The 1974 antitrust case against AT&T, for example, took eight years to litigate and concluded with the company’s breakup into multiple businesses. (AT&T is the parent of Warner Media, which owns CNN.)
“I think [Epic winning the lawsuits] would be pretty good for the markets overall,” said Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney of the nonprofit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “You’d see more experimentation, you’d see more business models. You’d see more innovation.”

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Credit Store

Free PS Store Credit Was Sent to a Small Number of PS Plus Subscribers – Push Square

Update (28th July): Now that the dust has settled, it seems only a very small selection of PS Plus subscribers received free PS Store credit from Sony. In a Push Square poll, just 4 per cent admitted to receiving the freebie out of almost 6,000 responses. It appears Sony selected randomly, so good on you if you were a recipient of the funds.


Update (26th July): Sony’s still in the process of sending free PS Store credit to PS Plus members, so if you haven’t received your free money yet, consider sitting tight a little longer. We’re hearing reports right around the web about people receiving the notification from Sony hours after this news broke. In fact, our roving reporter Robert Ramsey received the cash in the twilight hours of this morning, while the rest of the Push Square team has been left high and dry so far. There are, however, reports that the bonus is being sent out at random.

We’ll attempt to get clarification from the Japanese giant to see if it’s sending out the credit in waves, and if all PS Plus members can expect to receive it eventually.


Original Story: Who doesn’t love free money? Reports are coming in around the world of Sony sending out free PlayStation Store credit to PlayStation Plus members. It’s unclear what the requirements are to be eligible for the promotion – aside from being actively subscribed to the Japanese giant’s membership scheme, of course – but it looks like currency is being handed out right around the globe.

In the UK, you’ll score a very reasonable £10 of PS Store credit; in the USA, you’ll get $10. Meanwhile, those of you in Continental Europe will be eligible for €10, and so on. If you’ve been selected, you’ll receive a notification on your PlayStation 4, alerting you to the cash that’s been added to your PS Store wallet.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be notified with a similar message to the one embedded at the top of this article. You can find any correspondence from Sony by browsing to the Notifications section on the PS4 dashboard, and then hitting the Options button. Select the ‘From PlayStation’ toggle, and you should find a new message from the Japanese giant if you’ve been selected.

This all neatly coincides with the company’s Summer Sale, which has dunked the prices of dozens of titles. You can find out more about that through here. Did you receive the 10th anniversary sweetener? What are you planning to spend the free PS Store credit on? Let us know in the comments section below, and for the latest information on August 2020’s free PS Plus lineup, follow the link.

[source reddit.com, via resetera.com]

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