Opera: new DMA rules a chance “to put pressure” on Apple to open up for all

It looks like Apple's enclosed ecosystem is slowly opening up—in the EU, at least. On January 25th, 2024, the Big Tech giant revealed changes to its App Store and business model given new requirements under the Digital Market Act (DMA) due to come into force in March.

Apple's announcement was met with controversies, though. Many commentators, including Meta's founder Mark Zuckerberg and music app behemoth Spotify, deemed it as a farce. According to VPN service provider Proton VPN, “Apple is trying to profit off the DMA.” Echoing such concerns, web browser Mozilla sees this as “another example of Apple creating barriers to prevent true browser competition on iOS.”

Developers at Opera are more optimistic about Apple's new iOS browser rules and decided to celebrate launching an AI-powered alternative to Safari. I talked with Jona Bolin, Product Manager at Opera browser for iOS, to understand what all of this means for users in and out of Europe. 

An opportunity to get more control

“I think it's great that they are changing the regulations,” Bolin told me. “For us, it's an opportunity to have high control.” 

He went on to explain that while distribution is a major factor for other developers, the fact that Opera browser is a free service means that it won't be affected as much by new fees and payment requirements.

“Even though, we would have to develop two different apps,” Bolin told me, adding that the challenge will be encouraging users to migrate from one app to another instead. 

That's because as Apple opens up to third-party web browser engines for the first time—until now only Safari's WebKit engine was allowed for iOS—the provider has only done so for EU apps. This ultimately means twice as much work for browsers' developers.

Despite this burden, Bolin expects Apple's changes to make it easier for the team to implement the same level of features across Opera's range of apps. “Out of the box, we would get high security and a better process from where we can build on top of,” he added. 

See more

The Norwegian browser already announced plans to bring its AI-centric browser, Opera One, to iOS to give users a better AI-powered alternative to Safari. This is expected to be released in the next few months.

Outside the EU, both the UK and the US are voting on legislation that echoes the DMA's effort to ensure fair competition within the tech market and protect people's digital rights. 

Bolin hopes that new DMA requirements in the EU could then be only the first step “to put pressure” on the big tech giant to open up its ecosystem for all.

He said: “I think more countries need to move forward and then maybe Apple will also change. We also believe that [the DMA] can be a good test run, so maybe Apple would realize that it's also working on their side. We hope that in the future they will bring it to other markets—we believe that it will happen, eventually.” 

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This Microsoft Teams update will help enforce social distancing rules

Keeping control of your Microsoft Teams meetings could soon get a lot easier thanks to a new update aimed at limiting participant numbers.

The video conferencing service has announced new meeting room capacity notifications for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android, hopefully helping prevent virtual overcrowding.

The feature could also help in-office staff decide whether to move an in-person meeting online as concerns over Covid continue to rise.


According to its entry on the Microsoft 365 roadmap, users will now see a notification on the front of room display alerting in-room meeting participants if the room is over-capacity.

This decision is based on the capacity defined in a room account, which for Android users of Microsoft Teams can be limited in order to cope with computing power and battery life.

Microsoft notes that only cameras that support people counting will support this feature.

When a panel is deployed outside a Teams Room that supports this feature, an alert will also be visible on the Teams panel, notifying people outside the room that it has reached capacity.

Microsoft introduced people counting to Teams in 2020 as more and more users flocked to the platform after being told to work from home. Currently, up to 1,000 people can chat and call in to a Microsoft Teams meeting, although this number rises to up to 20,000 for view-only and listen-only calls, such as presentations or webinars.

The new meeting room capacity notifications are set to roll out in February 2022, with all Microsoft Teams on Android users around the world able to experience it.

Users will need to ensure their devices are running some of the latest Android builds, after Microsoft recently revealed it will soon revoke support for versions of Teams running on older versions of the software. Support will be pulled for Teams on Android 5 on March 1, 2022, while Android 6 and 7 will retain support until July 1 and September 1, respectively.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Thousands of UK SMBs are not yet compliant with incoming digital tax rules

Thousands of UK small businesses are still not prepared for important digital tax changes set to come into force within the next few months, a study has found.

The UK government has ruled that by April 2022 over one million small businesses will need to comply with incoming digital tax legislation, called Making Tax Digital (MTD). The changes — which require digital tax records uploaded online — apply to any business with less than £85,000 turnover.

Except there’s a problem: Intuit has conducted a survey and found that around 300,000 businesses are not yet compliant. 

Falling behind

The company, which makes the QuickBooks tax software suite, found nearly half (41%) of those it surveyed have been delaying making the necessary changes to comply with MTD, most likely because of the extensive paperwork. 

According to Intuit, most small business owners spend four hours per month worrying about VAT returns and some can spend up to seven hours per month. 

“Tax returns are a necessary fact of life for most small businesses, but that doesn’t mean they are enjoyable. With many experiencing sleepless nights around filing their returns, it’s understandable that many are avoiding thinking about upcoming VAT legislation,” noted Pauline Green, Head of Product Compliance & Programs at QuickBooks. 

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. Using digital software for VAT can actually reduce stress by automating the process, therefore minimising the time spent, improving efficiency and ensuring returns are accurate. Software also provides real-time insights into finances, helping to build better habits and financial awareness. If they prioritise becoming MTD compliant, small businesses will start to experience these benefits and eliminate tax worries – allowing them to focus on building a successful business.” 

Intuit has also worked with University of Bath Professor Bas Verplanken to create a free guide for alleviating some of the stress that stems from taxes, with a focus on simple changes that can make a big difference, freeing up time for other activities. 

As Verplanken says, “Successful habits form when you frequently and regularly conduct a task and protect against forgetfulness, procrastination, and even fear by making your tasks part of your daily or weekly routines. Building and adhering to these habits can minimise small businesses’ worries about their VAT returns and put them in full control of their business.” 

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

UK announces new security rules for IoT devices

Under new laws proposed by the UK government, all internet-connected devices will be required to abide by a strict set of security standards.

The new measures are designed to protect consumers and businesses against an increasing volume of cyberattacks. IoT devices – ranging from phones and tablets to smart speakers and cameras – have become a popular target due to poor security standards and, in some cases, discontinued security support.

Beyond scraping information from devices and using them as a route into private networks, criminals can harness hacked IoT devices to perpetrate DDoS attacks and take down online services.

The proposed legislation would require those involved in the manufacture and sale of connected devices in the UK to follow three rules:

– All consumer internet-connected device passwords must be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting

– Manufacturers of consumer IoT devices must provide a public point of contact so anyone can report a vulnerability and it will be acted on in a timely manner

– Manufacturers of consumer IoT devices must explicitly state the minimum length of time that the device will receive security updates at the point of sale, either in store on online

Compulsory standards

The new security standards were developed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

“Our new law will hold firms manufacturing and selling internet-connected devices to account and stop hackers threatening people’s privacy and safety,” said Matt Warman, minister for digital and broadband at DCMS.

“It will mean robust security standards are built in from the design stage and not bolter on as an afterthought,” he continued.

Until now, the UK has encouraged companies operating in the IoT space to adhere to a set of voluntary security practices. It has reached the conclusion that compulsory measures are necessary to ensure users are protected.

Via ZDNet

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More