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Apple and Google remove voting app from digital stores to comply with Russian government

While Apple champions all sorts of things, including individual privacy, user security, being a positive element for the environment, and no software backdoors which could give government agencies too much access. The reality is, if it wants to work in certain markets, then it must abide by local laws, regulations, and even demands. Which can lead to some noteworthy changes.

South Korea delays voting on bill that stops Apple and Google from forcing developers to use each store’s in-app purchase system

Last week, we reported that the South Korean government was looking to vote on the Telecommunications Business Act, a bill that includes an amendment that aims to force Apple and Google to make some sweeping changes to their digital storefronts. In South Korea the bill is known in short-hand as the "anti-Google bill," but obviously a lot of the focus is more on Apple's App Store. Generally speaking, though, the South Korean government believes this bill should help reign in any company with a monopolistic, or dominant, market position.

Pokémon Go is dead, long live Pokémon Go!

There is no debate that a large contingent on the internet has been holding out for less Pokémon Go news in 2017, but it is equally clear that this sentiment will not be echoed by the people at Niantic. No matter the side of the fence you are on, the fact that Pokemon Go is hands down one of the most successful apps in the history of the App Store (breaking first-week download and revenue records) is a big deal, and the augmented reality laced game will continue to rake in millions of users and dollars in the year ahead. It’s not all rosy though, as the daily player count is continuously pointing south and engagement data crumbling.

As much as this is Niantic’s battle to fight, Apple too has a vested interest in the preservation of Pokemon Go’s winning streak and will want to benefit financially from the game throughout the current fiscal year. The question both business entities therefore are going to have to find answers to is what’s next for Pokémon Go strategically, and what is Apple’s role in facilitating Niantic’s continued success with the app? Not so much content wise but rather in terms of product strategy, I have sized up a few moves that Niantic, The Pokémon Company and Apple could have up their sleeves over the next 12 months.

Google revamps Play Newsstand, adds For You recommendations, rich media, web app & more

Google earlier this week announced a major overhaul of the its magazine and news reader, Play Newsstand. The new version of the iPhone and iPad app sports a new app icon and provides a refreshed user interface alongside a few new “smart” features.

These include a personalized news briefing, a “For You” stream of personalized stories, support for rich media in articles, tab-based navigation and other perks.

Google Play Music gains redesigned interface and smarter, AI-driven recommendations

Google on Monday announced overhauled Play Music apps with smarter, AI-powered recommendations based on user location, activity and time of day are now available for iOS, Android and on the web. In addition, the app can optionally save your most recent songs and a few recommended tracks for offline listening, even if you forget to download them yourself. The revamped Play Music app is available on the App Store for free.

Not to be outdone by Google, rival Amazon this morning announced that its recently launched music-streaming service, dubbed Music Unlimited, is now available in the United Kingdom and expanding later today to Germany and Austria.