Apple acquires virtual reality startup Spaces and continues its foray into virtual and augmented reality - Apple continues its buying streak with the acquisition of virtual reality startup Spaces, Protocol published this Monday.

According to Protocol, Spaces announced last week that they were going to go "in a new direction," adding: "Thanks to our users and partners, who have participated in virtual reality conferences, and also to the people who have enjoyed our product in amusement parks and theaters"

Spaces builds virtual environments and experiences. Its founders launched the company in 2016 after leaving their job at Dreamworks Animatios and raised 8 million euros in this time, according to Pitchbook.

Apple acquires virtual reality startup Spaces

But the pandemic has forced Spaces to close their face-to-face centers, lay off workers, and borrow.

Apple, for its part, has not lost bellows: it has just reached 2 billion dollars (1.69 billion euros) of market capitalization and continues to buy startups. Spaces could be their eighth acquisition this year.

The company has been particularly interested in virtual reality startups and recently bought NextVR, a company that creates virtual experiences for events and sports, for about 84 million euros. Apple had already acquired in 2018 the manufacturer of augmented reality glasses Akonia Holographics and the startup Vrvana, which manufactures headphones that can make both virtual reality and augmented. The latter was founded by several Apple alumni in 2017.

It is rumored that Apple is working on a virtual and augmented reality headset that could be released in 2021, according to Bloomberg, and that the company wants to play an important role in this sector, as well as become strong in the entertainment industry.

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Apple and Epic tie in their first legal assault: Fortnite won't return to the App Store but the studio won't lose its developer profile for now

The first court dispute between Apple and Epic Games ends with a technical tie. The iPhone firm does not have to republish Fortnite in its App Store, but Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers who directs the case has ruled that they will not be able to close their developer profile to the video game studio.

It was published early Tuesday by several media outlets such as Bloomberg, which point out how the decision only raises tension between the two companies.

At the moment, neither Apple nor Epic have ruled on the court decision.

The judge understands that this first court decision does not resolve the dispute towards either side, and has set the next September 28 as the date on which he will rule on whether or not to accept the precautionary measures that Epic Games, the studio behind Fortnite, requested so that Apple does not withdraw its developer profile in the iOS and MacOS environment.

The dispute between Apple and Epic started on August 13. There are already several companies that have accused the iPhone manufacturer of having anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior due to commissions of up to 30% that takes from purchases and sales made by users of their terminals in third-party applications.

Spotify or Rakuten, among many firms, have denounced in the past the high commissions carried by the Cupertino firm. For this reason, many apps like Netflix do not allow users to subscribe to their services through the app: they have to do so through the website to prevent Apple from taking 30% of the monthly fee that users pay for their accounts.

To put it mildly, services like Spotify itself understand that Apple, in addition to forcing to pay those 30% commissions, conducts unfair competition practices prioritizing its own services over those of the competition. According to executives like the CEO of Spotify, Apple prioritizes in its own app store products like Apple Music over the music streaming service.

Epic Games is the video game studio responsible for the multiplayer title Fortnite, which in recent years has become a real phenomenon. Last August 13 announced a great update for this video game with which offered the possibility of buying a currency of the game through direct payment to the studio, through even iPhone.

The claim was that if players made the payment directly to Epic instead of Via Apple or Google's purchase methods, users would enjoy up to 30% off.

It was a matter of hours: as soon as Apple detected this offer, it removed Fortnite from the App Store, understanding that Epic Games was violating the terms of Service of the App Store present on Apple's iOS operating system.

Once this decision was made effective, Epic Games counterattacked by announcing a lawsuit they had already prepared in which fell Apple CEO Tim Cook. Epic even released an ad in which it satirized the popular Apple spot that Ridley Scott shot for the company and aired in 1984.

Along with the veto of TikTok's operations in the United States, the clash between Apple and Epic Games has become one of the tech culebrones of the summer. If Epic does the trick well, it could break the monopoly waterline not only in Apple's App Store-Google's too.

A few hours after Fortnite was removed from the App Store, Google did the same with the Play Store, the app download and sale service found on most Android-based devices.

The tension escalated until the week after Fortnite withdrew from mobile app stores it became known that Apple intended to withdraw its 'developer'status from the video game studio.

In addition to Fortnite, Epic Games is the company that owns the Unreal Engine, a graphics engine with which third studios around the world make video games. It is a very popular and renowned engine in the industry. Epic warned that if Apple removed their developer profile, the firm could not continue to send updates to Unreal, which would eventually result in games that use this engine to run could end up being unplayable on iPhones.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has spoken in favor of Apple— it doesn't have to resubmit Fortnite to the App Store-but also in favor of Epic: Apple cannot remove this developer profile from the studio. The judge ruled in his car this week that Apple has decided to "act harshly" by raising the possibility of removing Epic from its status as developers, which could lead to damage to third parties.

There are already supporters in this war. Microsoft has issued a statement endorsing Epic. Apple accused the Fortnite firm of seeking a special deal and the possibility of launching its Epic store on iOS, where Epic could sell Fortnite's currency and third-party titles without having to derive a commission to the Cupertino company.

Epic Games launched two years ago The Epic Store, a virtual store of computer games. The main claim he employed for this is that compared to other competing platforms, such as Steam, they would charge a lower percentage of the profits of developers who chose to use Epic as a platform to approach end consumers.

Fortnite is free. One of the main ways Epic receives revenue through the title is through the purchase of an in-game currency, the turkey, with which users can purchase new appearances for their avatars.

Compared to Mobile stores such as App Store or Play Store, online computer or console video game stores have shown that the standard is to stay 30% of the profits for the distribution of titles, as revealed by this infographic of the specialized media IGN. On both the PlayStation Store and the Xbox Store or Nintendo eShop this is the fixed fee for each developer.

The difference is that, unlike in consoles, this 30% commission on mobile also applies to in-app purchases.

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