Apple clashes with Chinese social network giants over in-app money transfers

Apple store logo
Apple is reportedly clashing with several developers of social networking apps that are prominent in China, according to The Wall Street Journal. The issue concerns the “tipping” feature common in many of these apps, which allows users to pay content creators directly.

One of those developers is Tencent, the company responsible for producing WeChat, China’s most prominent messaging and payment platform. According to the report, Apple’s stance is that the money exchanged by users — specifically tips — are in fact a form of in-app payment. That would allow the company to take a 30-percent cut of each transaction, per App Store rules.

In April, it was reported that Tencent scrubbed the tipping feature from the iPhone version of its app, and it appears other developers may be compelled to follow suit.

This all comes at a time when Apple has hit a roadblock in its Chinese expansion. Domestic manufacturers, like Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, are outperforming the iPhone maker. In 2016, Apple fell from first place among smartphone vendors in the country for the first time in five years.

As a result, the company could be looking to eke out even more revenue from its install base — though in this particular instance, it runs the risk of alienating its most vital partners in the region. Developers told The Wall Street Journal that Apple has threatened to remove their software from the App Store if they fail to comply.

Losing WeChat in particular would be a serious blow to any smartphone manufacturer selling its wares in China, as the app boasts nearly one billion active users. Even if WeChat remains on the iPhone in its current state, however, consumers may spring for Android devices instead if the ability to tip doesn’t return to Apple’s hardware.

Apple has reportedly been in talks with Tencent to negotiate a solution, but the Cupertino, California company runs the risk of triggering a regulatory ruling by the Chinese government, which may be inclined to side with developers.

An executive from one such developer said that his platform doesn’t take a cut of what users spend on tips, so Apple would effectively be receiving 30 percent “for doing nothing.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Deals

The best iPhone deals for November 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for November 2018.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.
Mobile

Android will finally get a faster sharing menu, but it might take a while

The Android sharing menu has gotten a whole lot better over the years, but it's also gotten slower. Thankfully, however, it seems as though Google is working on a better, faster sharing menu but, unfortunately, it may take a while.