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Apple and Microsoft Pushing to Exclude Services from European Gatekeeper Regulations

Ryan Lenett

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Seems like there’s a bit of a kerfuffle brewing over in the tech world. It turns out that not all big tech companies like being labeled as “gatekeepers,” especially under the European Union’s new rules, the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Word on the street is that Apple and Microsoft, two of the biggest names in tech, are bending over backward to ensure their services, iMessage and Bing, aren’t caught up in this new net. So, why all the fuss? In essence, this DMA thingamajig aims to level the playing field in the tech industry by clipping the wings of mega-internet platforms that might be dominating a tad too much. It’s a move designed to stir up competition and put a stop to any monopoly-style shenanigans. But get this – Apple and Microsoft are whispering behind closed doors that their services don’t quite fit into what DMA defines as a large online platform. 

Apple Challenges Classification of iMessage

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet, arguing that its hugely popular iMessage service should not be labeled as a gatekeeper platform, according to insider info reported by the Financial Times. Apparently, Apple’s case hinges on the notion that iMessage doesn’t check all the boxes set out by the DMA for the gatekeeper tag. To hitch a ride in the “gatekeeper” league, a service must boast over 45 million monthly eagles-on-standby (read: active users) within the EU, along with an annual cash flow north of €7.5 billion or a staggering market cap above €75 billion.

Debate Over User Numbers

Apple’s claim raises questions about the number of monthly active users iMessage actually boasts in the European Union. While iMessage is a preinstalled app on all iPhones sold and is widely used, Apple does not publicly disclose its monthly active user figures. Competing messaging apps like WhatsApp hold a stronger presence in Europe, making it unclear whether iMessage meets the user threshold set by the DMA.

Potential Implications

If iMessage were to be classified as a gatekeeper service, Apple would be required to open its platform to third-party messaging services, thereby fostering competition. Nonetheless, the firm’s position implies that they consider iMessage’s appeal in the EU to be just not quite enough to deserve this type of categorization. Given that there are more than a billion iPhones being used all over the world, with a hefty slice of the European smartphone pie, just how many people are actually using iMessage is still a hotly debated topic.

Microsoft’s Defense of Bing

Parallelly, Microsoft is reportedly putting forth a similar argument for its search engine, Bing. The company is asserting that Bing’s market share is too modest to warrant categorization as a gatekeeper under the DMA. Microsoft claims that Bing holds a mere 3% market share, a figure it believes exempts the search engine from the gatekeeper criteria.

Gatekeeper Regulations and Impending List

The DMA regulations stipulate that designated gatekeeper platforms must adhere to a range of interoperability and competition rules. The European Commission is set to publish a list of designated gatekeepers on September 6th, revealing both overall companies and specific services subject to the new regulations. Companies included on the list will have six months, until March 2024, to comply with the DMA’s regulations.

Potential Effects on Tech Landscape

The outcome of these discussions has the potential to reshape the European tech landscape. If iMessage and Bing are not classified as gatekeeper services, it could influence the competitive dynamics within their respective markets. Furthermore, Apple’s stronghold on the US market, largely due to iMessage’s integration with iOS, could be maintained without the pressure to open up to rival platforms.

Conclusion

As the European Commission prepares to unveil its list of designated gatekeepers, tech giants Apple and Microsoft are waging private battles to exclude their services, iMessage and Bing, from the new DMA regulations. Their arguments, centered on user numbers and market share, will ultimately shape the regulatory environment for tech companies operating within the European Union. The decisions made by the European Commission will have far-reaching implications for competition, innovation, and market dynamics in the tech industry. Click here to read more.

Ryan is a car enthusiast and an accomplished team builder passionate about crafting captivating narratives. Known for his ability to transport readers to other worlds, his writing has garnered attention and a dedicated following. With a keen eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, Ryan continues to weave literary magic in every word he writes.

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Google Adds Gemini AI Features to Gmail and Workspace Apps

Jonas Muthoni

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Google has updated its Workspace apps, such as Gmail, with new AI based features from the Gemini brand. These adjustments aim to make managing emails, documents and data more effective using sophisticated AI models like Gemini 1.5 Pro.

Gemini AI Sidebar in Gmail

A new Gemini side panel is being brought by Google on the web that can compress email threads and draft new emails. It offers “proactive prompts,” but it also allows users to ask “free form questions,” as stated in a Google blog post. The AI features are developed using Google’s top quality models.

Main features of Gmail’s Gemini sidebar,

  • Email thread breakup
  • Email thread response suggestions
  • New email drafting help
  • Solving queries about emails from inbox or Google Drive files

Gmail’s mobile apps are also getting these functionalities which allow users to use Gemini for condensing threads. However, access to these features is limited only to paying subscribers, including customers of specific Google Workspace addons and Google One AI Premium subscribers.

Gemini AI in Other Google Workspace Apps

Google extends the use of Gemini features beyond Gmail into other Workspace utilities like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive. The company revealed these updates during its I/O 2024 event. They are now accessible for users.

Functionality across various Workspace utilities,

  • Docs: Gemini can aid with content writing and refining, information summarising, brainstorming and generating content based on other files.
  • Slides: Gemini has capabilities of creating . new slides, custom pictures and condensing presentations.
  • Sheets: In Sheets, he helps in tracking and managing data,
  • Drive: Using Gemini one can get summaries of single or multiple documents, get easy to understand details about a project

To use these features on the web, users can click on the “Ask Gemini” icon that looks like a sparkle next to their profile picture at the top right corner. The click will launch an assistive experience in the same tab offering suggested queries and automatic summaries.

Preemptive and Assistive AI Features

The introduction of the Gemini AI sidebar by Google aims to make Workspace apps easier to use and more efficient. Proactive help in managing data and projects is also included amongst these AI abilities along with drafting and summarization capabilities.

Noteworthy features,

  • Automatic shortening of ongoing work
  • Preemptive prompts for productivity improvement
  • Sophisticated reasoning and extended context window given by Gemini 1.5 Pro

Users are recommended to review AIgenerated content because sometimes inaccurate info may get generated by these advanced systems. Such care is especially needed while writing essential emails or documents.

Pricing Plans and Availability

The rollout of Google’s new side panel called Gemini along with its features will happen across several subscription plans, including,

  • Google One AI Premium
  • Addon for Business and Enterprise by Gemini
  • Gemini Education addon as well as Education Premium addon

All these features will be fully deployed by Google in coming weeks. The aim behind using these AI tools is improving the efficiency of users across varied platforms, both web based as well as mobile.

In summary

The addition of new Gemini AI features represents considerable advancement in terms of integrating state of the art AI functionality into tools that are being used by millions every day. Google strives to offer a more productive and smooth user experience through these enhancements in Gmail and other workspace apps. These powerful tools come with a caution suggesting users to confirm the correctness of the content generated by this AI.

Given AI technology’s continuous advancement, it can be said that the Gemini features offered by Google stand at the cutting edge of AI supported productivity, showing promise to redefine how users interact within their digital workspaces.

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Microsoft Unveils Affordable Copilot+ AI PCs

Ashley Waithira

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June 18, 2024, was a crucial day for Microsoft and Windows 11 users as Microsoft presented its new range ofilot+ AI PCs. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X processors, these computers will bring hightech AI capabilities straight into people’s homes.

Cheapest Copilot+ PC, Surface Laptop 7

The most affordable new Copilot+ AI PC is surprisingly from Microsoft. The Surface Laptop 7 costs $999.99, currently the lowest price for a Copilot+ PC. This modern laptop has a Snapdragon X Plus processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a clear display of 2304 x 1536 resolution at a rate of 120 Hz refresh and brightness as high as 600 nits.

  • Price tag, $999.99
  • CPU, Snapdragon X Plus
  • RAM Size, 16GB
  • Data Storage Size, An adaptable 256GB SSD
  • Screen Details, A crisp display with dimensions of –13.8 inches at resolution levels of –2304 x1536 pixels along with the refresh speed of –120Hz.

The impressive range of features on the Surface Laptop makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to try out new Copilot+ AI abilities. Unlike its counterparts like Surface Pro11 which need an extra buy for the keyboard , this variant has an inbuilt one, increasing its appeal.

Specifications and Efficiency

The new Copilot+ PCs by Microsoft come loaded with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series processors, recognized for their superb AI processing abilities. The advanced features of Copilot+ include ,

  • Cocreator, A tool built into Windows Paint that converts text to imagery.
  • Windows Studio Effects, Tools that improve webcam visuals such as auto framing and background blur of video calls.
  • Live Captions with Translation, Video content can be transcribed and translated in real time.
  • Recall, This feature records all activities on the device (it has been suspended over privacy worries) .

Preliminary performance tests have shown pleasing outcomes. Using the Handbrake application, the Surface Laptop 7 with the Snapdragon X Plus processor managed transcoding tasks well outshining some of Intel’s freshest products.

User Feedback and Market Response

This introduction of Copilot+ PC’s has gotten tech enthusiasts talking, they are seen as a huge step for Windows’ ARM platform providing longer battery lives and high tech AI capacities. But not without a few challenges on its way.

  • Compatibility Problems, Issues were faced by certain applications especially those that need specific AI models.
  • A weak spot in Battery Testing , There were inconsistencies during different battery tests , indicating software refinement problems .
  • Inconsistent Geekbench ML Ratings, Mixed results were found when comparing Snapdragon X Elite’s performance in machine learning ratings against Intel’s Hardware.

Apart from these challenges there is positive outlook overall for this product line. Microsoft’s ambitious move into the AI PC sector could have a strong influence on future computer sales.

What the Future Holds

Gazing forward, Microsoft’s aim is to sell over 50 million AI PCs in the next year. This lofty goal is driven by the growing need for AI technology. The market for AI PCs will grow swiftly as more users experience the benefits of AI features on their personal computers .

  • Upcoming Upgrades, Later this year , launches by Intel and AMD of their own AIenabled processors are expected , marking potential competition.
  • New Possibilities with AI Technology , Ongoing enhancements in AI technology will further enrich the array of applications and additional benefits, boosting capabilities of these computers. .
  • Data Privacy, Addressing data confidentiality problems when using AI enabled functions like Recall is vital to retain user confidence.

In Summary

The launch of Copilot+ AI PCs by Microsoft signifies a major innovation in integrating Artificial Intelligence into personal computers. These state of the art devices with competitive pricing and backed by Qualcomm’s high powered processors are set to transform the industry. As technological advancements continue, users can look forward to an even broader range of practical applications to improve their digital experiences.

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PS-5 and Xbox Series X/S Upgrades Better Gaming Experience

Ryan Lenett

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Sony released a new update for the PS 5 that enables users to use Discord voice chats directly from their console. This feature bypasses the need to start a call from a computer or mobile phone. Simplifying things for gamer who chat with friends on Discord while playing.

PS 5’s Straightforward Discord Integration

  • The update will be phased in gradually, starting in Japan/Asia, then Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Middle East, and lastly the Americas.
  • Users should update their PS 5 system software and link both their Play Station Network and Discord accounts to use this feature.
  • To enter a Discord voice chat on PS5 you must approach it via the Control Center’s Game Base just select your preferred voice channel from there.

This upgrade is a notable step forward compared to before where players had to transfer calls to their PS 5 using another device. Sony’s tie up with Discord highlights its focus on refining the social side of gaming.

Other New Features on PS 5

The recent update also introduces more new features apart from integrating Discord,

  • Now child accounts can add links to third party services as well as apps which improves their gaming experience with services like Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
  • New tools give parents control over child account links with third party venues.
  • Better system software performance and stability are assured now.
  • PULSE Elite wireless headset, PULSE Explore wireless earbuds, Play Station Link USB adapter are all updated to improve their connections and usability.

Updates for Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft also launched updates for the Xbox Series X/S. These upgrades focus on animated backgrounds, WiFi connectivity and cloud gaming enhancements.

  • An upgraded dynamic back grounds now let each game’s art engulf the background when users flick over it.
  • Users can hold up to 10 WiFi connections which makes changing locations quicker due to familiar network settings.
  • Managing subscriptions directly from a settings menu is now possible which gives better control over services such as Game Pass.
  • Increased support for mouse and keyboard in cloud gaming as well as simplified cloud save management thanks to new features.

The updates reflect Microsoft‘s dedication to refining the user experience. And making Xbox Series X/S more versatile and user friendly devices.

Gaming Console User Experiences Going Up

Sony and Microsoft‘s updates point to a silent console face off aimed at making gaming more rewarding. Sony’s PS5 upgrade especially with direct Discord access suits gamer who use the communication platform extensively. On the other hand, Xbox users’ feedback on dynamic backgrounds, WiFi connectivity, and cloud gaming drove Microsoft’s upgrades.

Incorporating fresh features alongside polishing existing ones enables both companies to continually refine the gaming experience. This aligns with broader industry trends where players’ experience becomes integral to tech development.

To Conclude

Sony and Microsoft continue updating their PS 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles experimentally adding features like Direct Discord integration, advanced active backdrops, better system performance etc. For gamer this means they can anticipate smoother game play experiences. These rolling updates strengthen both functional aspects as well as social interaction for players enabling them more facility in playing and enjoying their favourite games.

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