CEO of ‘Fortnite’ game maker casts Google as a ‘crooked’ bully in testimony

SAN FRANCISCO — Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on Monday portrayed Google as a ruthless bully that resorts to shady tactics to protect a predatory payment system.

His portrayal came in testimony in an antitrust trial focused on Epic Games’ attempt to upend Google’s store for Android phone apps.

Sweeney’s more than two-hour stint on the witness…

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How Spikeball’s CEO plans to build the brand without paid advertising

Chris Ruder wanted Spikeball to be known as the beach game when he founded the company in 2008—so much so that he made it the product’s tagline.

It turns out that playing on the beach isn’t necessarily representative of the game’s clientele. “When sales started coming in, I realized that most of our customers didn’t live within 100 miles of a beach,” Ruder said. He ended up scrapping the original tagline and going with “Find Your Circle” instead.

Regardless, it’s not appearing in any massive ad campaigns: The company has, for the most part, forgone more traditional types of advertising, instead taking cues from sports like Formula 1, which have relied on storytelling and community to build the brand and the sport.

Story time

Summer’s an important time of year for a sport like Spikeball (which is actually called roundnet, but that’s a whole different story). Frequency of play is 100x higher in the summer than in January, Ruder said, and mid-April through early August marks the time when sales tend to, well, spike.

As a result, it’s also when players are creating the most content around the game. And for better or worse, 99% of that video content is of “what happens on the field,” Ruder said.

While it’s fun to watch, videos of players diving to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the ground don’t exactly provide viewers with much background on the sport and its players. So, in addition to that type of content, Ruder said he wants to follow the Netflix documentary formula, citing the success of the streamer’s tennis series Break Point, its golf series Full Swing, and the F1 series Drive to Survive—the last of which helped boost the sport’s popularity among viewers and advertisers in the US. (While there’s no

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This Week in Apps: Google I/O 2023 recap; Android, apps and AI; Twitter’s new CEO

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app economy in 2023 hit a few snags, as consumer spending last year dropped for the first time by 2% to $167 billion, according to’s “State of Mobile” report. However, downloads are continuing to grow, up 11% year-over-year in 2022 to reach 255 billion. Consumers are also spending more time in mobile apps than ever before. On Android devices alone, hours spent in 2022 grew 9%, reaching 4.1 trillion.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here:

This week, Google held its annual developer conference, which meant there was a tidal wave of news about new Google products — like its midrange Pixel 7a smartphone, Pixel Tablet (with its great magnetic combo stand and speaker) and its first folding phone — the pricey ($1,800) Pixel Fold.

But the real star of the show was, of course, AI, and how Google is integrating it into a range of products and services from the workplace to coding to translation — and yes, even into Google Play and app developer tools.

If you missed the big event, TechCrunch has a Google I/O wrap-up, where you can find all the news, including AI announcements, like its next-gen large language model PaLM 2, other developer updates, like updates to Vertex AI and an ML Hub to train AI models, new Search features, a new GitHub Copilot competitor and more.

In terms of news

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Michele Markham, CEO and President of EAG Advertising & Marketing, Named an Enterprising Women of the Year Award Winner

Michele Markham, CEO and president of EAG Advertising & Marketing, an Enterprising Woman of the Year Award Winner.

Michele Markham, Enterprising Woman of the Year Award Winner

To be among the caliber of leaders being recognized as the Class of 2023 for the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards is a testament to the great work the EAG Advertising & Marketing team delivers every day for our entrepreneurial and enterprising clients.

This month, Markham will be attending the Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration and Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla. The three-day educational and networking conference culminates in a Gala Award Dinner where she and other top women entrepreneurs from around the world will be recognized for their leadership, community involvement and mentorship.

“To be named an Enterprising Women of the Year Award Winner in recognition of your success in business and community leadership is a once-in-a-lifetime honor. Michele was selected from among hundreds of nominees worldwide. We’re looking forward to shining a spotlight on her, along with other extraordinary women entrepreneurs at the conference,” says Monica Smiley, CEO and publisher of Enterprising Women.

Enterprising Woman of the Year Awards is one of the most notable recognition programs for women business owners in the world with awardees having proven entrepreneurial leadership of growing companies, active mentorship for women and girls in their local areas and engagement in their communities.

In Markham’s case, she is the sole owner of EAG, the only company from the Kansas City metro with more than $3 million in annual revenues to win. Markham joined EAG after leaving Ketchum where she worked her way up from account executive to the agency’s first woman president. She was promoted to EAG president, co-led the agency to record growth over a five-year period, gained minority ownership of EAG, and ultimately acquired the agency as sole

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TikTok refreshes its group recommendations as CEO prepares to testify before Congress

What you will need to know

  • For the initial time, TikTok has created its community concepts community.
  • These rules provide as the basis for all TikTok selections pertaining to information moderation on the platform.
  • TikTok’s group tips have also been up-to-date, and they will go into outcome on April 21.

TikTok is increasingly getting a status as the wild west of social networking, and for legitimate factors, chief among them the proliferation of from time to time perilous content material on the system. The shorter-kind online video songs provider is now using steps to even more rein points in with a new update to its neighborhood guidelines.

In a website put up (opens in new tab), TikTok’s Worldwide Head of Product Policy, Julie de Bailliencourt, wrote that the system is beefing up its principles all around AI-generated articles. This new update will come as generative AI proceeds to get traction amongst tech giants like Google and Microsoft. The research giant, in individual, not too long ago unveiled new AI equipment for Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Meet up with, and Chat. The element can do things like develop pictures, audio, and films for you in Slides in a make any difference of seconds.

TikTok has also current its procedures close to detest speech and hateful actions, adding “tribe” to the record of attributes safeguarded by its suggestions. Additionally, the ByteDance-owned enterprise has expanded its data on how it safeguards “civic and election integrity.”

Extra than 100 companies globally have pitched in to help notify TikTok’s refresh pointers. The supreme goal is to bolster the platform’s procedures and “react to new threats and probable harms,” according to Bailliencourt.

The new guidelines will arrive into force commencing on April 21, and TikTok programs to teach its pool of moderators in excess of

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