What's Up With Apple: Twitter Prevails, From Russia Without Love, and More

Before Twitter reported quarterly earnings after markets closed Tuesday, analysts and investors feared that the results could be negatively affected by the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) implemented in June. Snap, especially, and Facebook stock took serious hits to their ad revenue streams due to ATT.

Twitter, however, reported a 37% increase in revenue and said it expects ATT to have only a “modest” impact on future revenue. The company said: “It is still too early for Twitter to assess the long-term impact of Apple’s privacy-related iOS changes, but the Q3 revenue impact was lower than expected.” Twitter’s daily user number jumped 13% to 211 million, and that obviously helped keep ad revenue up.

The main difference from Snap and Facebook was (and is) Twitter’s focus on brand advertising rather than product advertising. Twitter’s so-called ad engagement rate (that is, users clicking on the ads) rose by 6% year over year. Because brand advertising is typically less targeted than product ads, losing targeting data thanks to Apple’s ATT had a smaller impact on Twitter’s revenue.

Apple has joined the ranks of Facebook and Google on the wrong side of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s personal data and tech regulator. Since July 1, the agency has been enforcing a new law that requires tech companies (especially the biggest ones) to jump through a number of hoops if they want to do business in the country. For example, both Apple and Google removed apps that called on Russian citizens to cast protest votes in last month’s elections.

According to a report at Reuters, Roskomnadzor has now opened an antitrust case against Apple over the company’s lack of alternative payment systems for App Store customers. Sound familiar? If Apple is found to be in violation of Russian law, the company faces fines based on a percentage of its annual Russian revenue.

On Tuesday, for example, Google paid a $455,079 fine for failing to delete content that Roskomnadzor said was illegal. The agency had threatened to fine Google up to 20% of its Russian revenue (about $240 million, according to Reuters). Roskomnadzor warned Facebook last month that it faces a fine of up to 10% of its annual Russian revenue (about $165 million) unless it deletes content Roskomnadzor doesn’t like.

Briefly noted:

Apple has released an update to its iPhone operating system. iOS 15.1 is now available for download. The new release supports keeping your COVID-19 vax record in Apple Wallet, SharePlay and other new or improved features.

Apple has also released updates to iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8. The new software primarily fixes some bugs, makes some performance improvements and closes some security issues.