The tech world has seen a lot of big headlines this past week: A big Twitter hack, Huawei's ending 5G run in the UK – and Apple. Yes, Apple managed to get away yet another time with a black eye. Instead of almost 14 billion, the company 'only' has to pay one billion.
Where should we begin this week? Let's kick things off with the candidate who has aroused the most sympathy. As Huawei is still struggling with the effects of the US-ban and is trying by all means to somehow obtain a foothold again in selected markets, grounds are slippery. Like an astronaut who is spinning around in space, struggling to reach the spaceship. And then Great Britain hits. What drama!
The UK has decided to exclude the Chinese tech giant from expanding their super-fast 5G network in that part of the world. As recently as January, it was said that Huawei may build up to 35 percent of the infrastructure of the Kingdom's 5G network. Germany is still considering on whether to proceed with Huawei in the 5G department, and hopes for a joint EU approach. For Huawei, this is a major setback. However, on Thursday, an event saved Huawei from the title "Loser of the Week".
Loser of the week: Twitter, who's been twittering internally?
The Twitter hack did not arouse pity in me, but curiosity. What do Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Apple, and Uber have in common? They all have millions of followers on Twitter. And: They have all been victims of a dubious hacker attack on Twitter.
Antoine and I have discussed the incident and it is strange: the hackers have found a way to hack important Twitter accounts simultaneously. They decide to send a ridiculously weak mail with the hacked accounts with the intention of stealing cryptocurrency in this manner. But instead of using an original and much more personal tweet, a text that is clearly reminiscent of spam was chosen, in which a request is made to transfer cryptocurrency. How unimaginative. You hack the most important social network in the world and "only" get around $100,000?
Antoine thinks: This was a demonstration of power, a kind of hacker commercial. I agree with him, but I can't laugh, because I find it highly disturbing that something like this is possible in 2020. Allegedly, the two-factor authentication is also supposed to have eliminated such things from happening. This was supposed to be reassuring, but things are still unpredictable as they are: The hackers have only been successful through one or more accomplices inside the social network. (Corrupt) humans have always been a weak point. We happen to be the most dangerous bug of all...
Winner of the week: Apple pays no back taxes, Samsung holds out
It feels wrong to call Apple the winner of the week. But I chose the tech company because I'm sure that champagne was flowing in Cupertino. Because when a company has to pay €13.1 ($15) billion in taxes and €1.2 billion ($1.37) in interest, that hurts. Apple got away scot-free with tax dumping for the time being. "This can't be true!" I thought. Surely some of you have thought the same, right?
Don't get me wrong: I like Apple to prosper, simply because I like the products that this company produces. But I am annoyed that the EU Commission is unable to get a grip on the tax dumping that large corporations make by offering favourable special conditions. Smaller companies will not have a chance because of the so-called tax rulings against the top dogs. Consequently, these whales have even more money available to develop products in the future. The EU Commission now wants to examine the ruling of the EuG in favour of Apple and take action against aggressive tax optimisation.
So Apple wins a sum of around €14 ($16) billion and not one dime less, and Samsung knows this by holding out its hand - or rather presents the contract that Apple has entered into with Samsung as the display manufacturer. Apple was probably unable to meet the agreed purchase quantity of OLED panels as agreed upon, as too few units of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro were sold (mainly due to the global pandemic). However, Apple did introduce an iPhone SE earlier this year, but that wasn't enough.
Presumably, the coronavirus pandemic must also be taken into consideration as one of the reasons for the iPhone 11's sales slump. "Or the insanely high price!!!", as I suspect that many are ranting. DSCC reported last week that Apple will have to pay around 900 to 950 million US dollars to Samsung due to a penalty. This is not the first time that such a thing happened, though. Last year, without a pandemic, Apple already paid 683 million dollars to Samsung because of underordered OLED panels. At the end of July, Apple will announce the current quarterly figures, which will allow further analysis. So, it is time to put on your glasses and analytical setup and see how the situation will develop further.