Misconceptions about Apple Pay

John Gruber wrote a commentary on a WSJ article about the effect of apps on the web.

Christopher Mims, writing in the WSJ::

Take that most essential of activities for e-commerce: accepting credit cards. When Amazon.com made its debut on the Web, it had to pay a few percentage points in transaction fees. But Apple takes 30% of every transaction conducted within an app sold through its app store, and “very few businesses in the world can withstand that haircut,” says Chris Dixon, a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.

As Gruber pointed out, this is a misconception that confuses in-app purchases with transactions made in the app.

That’s patently false. Even with Mims’s own example, Amazon. Just a few minutes before sitting down to write this piece, I used Amazon’s iPhone app — the one distributed through Apple’s App Store — to buy some stuff. I added items to my cart, signed in with my getting-close-to-two-decades-old Amazon account, and I was done. Apple won’t see one penny of that transaction. Not one.

If Amazon started using Apple Pay in their app, Apple would have gotten a fraction of a penny of each dollar I spent — but those pennies would have come from my credit card company, not Amazon.

Retailers who sell through native apps do not pay Apple anything, let alone 30 percent. What Apple charges 30 percent for are purchases for in-app digital content. I can’t buy Kindle books in the Kindle app, or Amazon MP3 music, because of this — but I can buy everything else from Amazon.

It makes sense for Apple to charge for in-app purchases because the digital content is delivered by Apple’s servers to the consumers. Apple does not earn a commission from in-app transactions that are not handled by Apple. In Mims’s example, Amazon is the one delivering the purchases to the customer, not Apple.

Mims rightly suggested that the web should be kept open.

The Web was intended to expose information. It was so devoted to sharing above all else that it didn’t include any way to pay for things — something some of its early architects regret to this day, since it forced the Web to survive on advertising.

But the irony of that, as Gruber pointed out, is, his article is published on a site with a pay wall.

How secure is your messaging app?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation rates the security of messaging apps.

I’d like to see WeChat and LINE on the chart.

Samsung reviews its own products

In an attempt to blow your mind, Samsung has written an unofficial review of their own product on the official Samsung blog.

Maybe they decided to skip paying others to review their products and just do the review on their own.

Deregister iMessage from a browser

Finally. If you’re still facing this problem, you can deregister your number here.

But with the recently-released web tool, all you need to do is enter the phone number you wish to uncouple from Apple’s iMessage system. Apple will then send you a confirmation code over SMS — type it into the browser window and you’ll be home free. via The Verge

Samsung refuses to pay Android royalties to Microsoft

Android Central reported on Samsung refusing to pay Android royalties to Microsoft because the latter was a direct hardware competitor.

We reported a while about Microsoft’s action against Samsung.

Samsung is now stating that since Microsoft owns Nokia’s devices unit, sharing sensitive data with the company would result in a breach of US antitrust laws.

If Samsung is so adamant about not breaching antitrust laws, perhaps Samsung should stop using Android. That way it won’t have to pay licensing fees and won’t invite charges of collusion.

Be a savvy Uber user

Sometimes when you read stuff on the Internet, your first reaction is to think that some billion-dollar company scammed a poor user. So it’s no surprise to see that some folks are up in arms over this:

Uber surprised a 26-year-old Baltimore woman with a spooky Halloween bill that hit $326 on a routine ride, resulting in her inability to pay her rent and general Internet outrage.

I don’t know about her, but I think Uber does a pretty decent job of explaining its controversial surge pricing when it kicks into effect. Surge pricing basically adds a multiplier to the cost of the Uber in order to adjust for supply and demand. So if you’re trying to catch an Uber during peak hour, the cost might be 2X or even 9X. This isn’t any different from retailers raising prices when goods are in short supply. Some would deem it opportunistic, but it’s just supply and demand adjusting itself. If this were a 9X price on something that we absolutely must have to survive, then it’s a cause of concern, but there are alternatives to Uber out there, and as always, users can vote with their wallets. They can choose not use Uber, or wait until the surge ends. I usually just wait it out or take a regular cab.

I think it’s a pretty common practice to check the price of something before purchasing too. So if you see that the price is jacked up nine times, I think common sense would be to not buy it unless it’s an absolute necessity.

I do find her solution intriguing though. Using a crowdfunding service like GoFundMe to get herself out of a fix might be frowned upon, but I don’t see much difference from asking your mates for some help from time to time.

Hopefully this incident does bring more awareness to Uber’s surge pricing model though. Next time before you book that Uber, just take an extra glance to make sure you’re not agreeing to something you’re not comfortable paying for.

Former Android VP calls iPhone 6 ‘the most beautiful smartphone ever built’

The Verge reported on former head of Android and current Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra praising the iPhone 6.

Using careful language, Barra suggested that Xiaomi phones and software sometimes resemble existing products because the company is young and its designers lack confidence.”It’s a fight, but I think we’re learning and we’re progressing,” he said. “When you look at the stuff that’s coming next from us, you’re going to see some unique new twists.”

CurrentC customer relations

Karen Webster wrote on PYMNTS about the scariest things in payments.

Customers, furious at not being able to use the payment method of choice to shop at Rite Aid, are taking to Twitter to not only let their feelings be known, but letting Rite Aid know that they are now, literally, walking across the street to Walgreen’s so they can use Apple Pay. Walgreens is also taking to Twitter to tweet their thanks to Rite Aid for giving them so many new customers. Marketing people are probably furious and full of “I-told-you-so’s” and the CEO is now probably going to be the one brought in to decide whether losing sales and reputation is worth saving a few cents on interchange.

Of course, what making matters worse is that CurrentC can’t even offer Rite Aid an alternative for its customers to use today or even tomorrow or the day after that. Rite Aid is saying, and I would guess a little sheepishly, just wait folks, we’ll have something too, soon, like sometime in 2015. And, it will be great.

Of course, it is entirely believable when a company tells customers that they have the customers’ best interests at heart, but they will prevent you from using a solution that is readily available and make you wait until next year for a more complicated solution.

MCX doublespeak

Kevin Fitchard wrote on Gigaom about the surreal interview given by MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson.

He said no MCX member would be fined or penalized for accepting Apple Pay (contrary to an earlier report in the New York Times), while reiterating that member merchants have all agreed to use CurrentC exclusively.

So are the members free to breach the agreement with no penalties?

From what I gather based on numerous sidestepped questions asked at the press conference, Davidson feels that MCX retailers are free do whatever they like as long as they quit the consortium, and that competition and third-party innovation are great as long as they’re done at some other retailer’s stores.

Davidson sounds confused to me.

One of Davidson’s final comments was perhaps the most telling. He said the goal of MCX was for retailers to establish much stronger bonds with their customers, the implication being that Apple, Google or the carriers stand in the way of establishing that bond. “Three’s a crowd,” he said.

I prefer a crowd than banking solely on the first mobile payment solution to be hacked even before it launched.

Samsung suffered a 73.9% drop in Q3 mobile profits while Apple’s rose 11.3 percent

AppleInsider wrote about Samsung and Apple’s Q3 mobile profits.

That means Samsung is now earning about one third of Apple’s profits while still shipping over twice as many phones.

Take a moment to let that sink in.