Trending December 2023 # Text Annotation: What Is It & Why Is It Important In 2023? # Suggested January 2024 # Top 18 Popular

You are reading the article Text Annotation: What Is It & Why Is It Important In 2023? updated in December 2023 on the website We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Text Annotation: What Is It & Why Is It Important In 2023?

What is text annotation?

Supervised ML models need data labeling to work effectively. Text annotation is a subset of data annotation where the annotation process focuses only on text data such as PDFs, DOCs, ODTs etc.

Text annotation requires manual work. Data scientists determine the labels or “tags” and passes the text-specific information to the NLP model being trained. This process can be thought of as a child’s language learning process. Under the guidance of the parents who determine the labels, the child first learns the meaning of the words and then distinguishes the satire, metaphor, allusion, and emotion behind the sentence.

Why is text annotation important now?

Statista shows that the global NLP market generated turnovers of over $12 billion in 2023, and it is predicted that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25% from 2023 to 2025, reaching revenues of over $43 billion. Since text annotation is the fundamental process in developing an NLP, it is reasonable to consider text annotation as an important phenomenon.

In addition, customers demand digitized and fast customer services, and the Covid-19 pandemic has increased this demand. Consequently, chatbots become an integral part of customer service. No company would want to serve its customers with a weakly trained NLP algorithm that is not able to distinguish a simple metaphor.

What are the techniques for text annotation?

There are four main techniques of text annotation, namely:

Named entity recognition

Named entity recognition labels the words in the text with predefined categories such as date, name, location, etc. It is useful for machines to understand the topic of the text as AI learns keywords thanks to this labeling method. Therefore, named entity recognition is often used in the development of chatbots.

Entity linking

While entity annotation is about marking specific entities in a text, entity linking is about linking those entities to larger data sets such as Wikipedia links.

Sentiment Annotation

Sentiment annotation is the tagging of emotions and opinions contained in a text. Annotators choose which tag best represents the emotion of the document.

Understanding human emotions is crucial for companies to evaluate their position in the market. Sentiment annotation helps companies to improve customer satisfaction. Customer review analysis is an example of sentiment annotation, where data labelers read reviews and determine whether they are positive, neutral, or negative.


For more in-depth knowledge on sentiment analysis, feel free to download our comprehensive whitepaper:

For more details on sentiment analysis, check our comprehensive article.

Intent annotation

For effective chatbots in customer service, it is crucial to understand the reason for the conversation. Is the customer asking for something, reporting an unpleasant experience, waiting for a response or confirmation, etc.? Data analysts classify texts into different categories, such as request, command, or confirmation to train chatbots.

How to annotate text data?

Companies need software that specializes in text annotation to apply the text annotation techniques. It is possible to outsource the process to vendors that offer open-source and closed-source text annotation tools.

Open-source text annotation tools are free, and since the code is open to anyone, it can be modified to meet your organization’s needs. Closed-source tools, on the other hand, have a team to help you set up and use the software for your business. However they charge a fee for such a service.

In-housing vs outsourcing vs crowdsourcing

In-housing, outsourcing and crowdsourcing are ways to perform the manual work of text annotation. They are associated with different costs, output quality and data security. Therefore, it is an important strategic decision for companies which method to use.

Of course, the optimal strategy will vary from organization to organization, as the conditions and needs of organizations are different. Nevertheless, the following table might be helpful for you to choose the optimal strategy. For more, you can check our article on outsourcing data labeling.

OutsourceIn-houseCrowdsource Time requiredAverageHighLow PriceAverageExpensiveCheap Quality of labelingHighHighLow SecurityAverageHighLow

Don’t forget to check our sortable/filterable list of data labeling/annotation/classification vendors list. You can also check our open-source data labeling platforms list.

You might also want to see our image and audio annotation articles to learn more about data labeling. If needed, we can introduce you to some of the best text annotation companies:

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.





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The Metaverse: What Is It?

It’s not surprising that digital gaming is one of the early adopters of the metaverse.

But, if the metaverse is all about gaming, Mr. Zuckerburg would not have bet his entire company on it.

In 2023, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, announced the name change of the company he founded two decades ago from Facebook to Meta – and the concept of the “metaverse” emerged from a niched and futuristic idea, to a mainstream business strategy.

In this article, we will explore what exactly the metaverse means, where it came from, and how it has evolved – and will continue to evolve.

Let’s dive in.

What Is The Metaverse?

Meta defines the metaverse as “the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet.”

While this definition is generally true, it’s important to know that Meta doesn’t control the metaverse; no company does.

In fact, rather than thinking of one virtual space called the metaverse, it’s more appropriate to use the plural form, metaverses, at the current stage.

A metaverse can be any 3D virtual space powered by technologies – including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain – that allows people to interact with each other (and in some cases, with non-human avatars).

There are many metaverses existing today.

Most of them were created by individual companies and serve a particular purpose. There is little to no interoperability among metaverses, as the standards of sharing user identities and data across different metaverse spaces haven’t been developed yet.

The History Of The Metaverse

The term “metaverse” was first used by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash.” In the novel, Mr. Stephenson describes a 3D virtual world that people could, in a sense, occupy.

The novel’s main character, Hiro, accesses the metaverse via a personal terminal that projects 3D virtual reality images to his goggles. Hiro’s avatar interacts with other people’s avatars in the metaverse, and in fact, “Snow Crash” is the name of a data file Hiro’s avatar received in the metaverse.

Fiction aside, digital gaming is how the metaverse was introduced to and adapted by consumers in scale. Launched in 2023, Pokémon Go, which incorporated augmented reality into mobile gaming, took the world by storm.

Since then, multiplayer games, such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, have provided a virtual environment where players can interact with each other in the form of avatars – creating the foundation of the metaverse.

In 2023, the development and adoption of the metaverse has gone beyond gaming and into other industries.

Metaverse marketing is becoming a buzzword among consumer brands. Major multinational companies, from JP Morgan, Nike, and Adidas, to McDonald’s, all have initiatives to capture the marketing potential of the metaverse.

This creates another level of interconnectivity and a new dimension to our global economy.

The management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, estimated the metaverse could generate $5 trillion in revenue for businesses by 2030.

How Is The Metaverse Different From The Internet?

Even though the metaverse is often considered the next evolution of the internet, there are significant differences between the two.

The internet, as we know it, is a network of websites.

Initially, websites were created for information distribution only.

Today, websites serve various purposes, from shopping, entertainment, to communication. The emergence of social networks made the internet a channel for people to connect and share their lives with each other.

Even as enormous as the internet is, it’s still a place for storing and sharing information its users generate about what happened in the “real world.”

On the contrary, the metaverse is a virtual world where its users “live” their virtual lives. The activities happening in the metaverse and the data it stores may not have any connection with the “real world.”

In other words, the internet is an extension of the real world, while the metaverse is a virtual space that exists in parallel with the real world.

To understand this difference, consider posting pictures of a dinner gathering with your friends on social media versus having a virtual gathering with your friends in the metaverse.

In the metaverse, you can go about many of your everyday life’s day-to-day interactions and occurrences in your avatar form.

Your avatar can interact with other people’s avatars.

You can conduct many activities in the virtual world as you do in the real world, such as buying and selling goods, attending concerts, going to museums, building or renovating a house, and more.

How NFT And Cryptocurrency Made The Metaverse Possible

To enable commercial activities in the metaverse, the metaverse needs a system to support business transactions.

Trading goods and services in the virtual world have two challenges.

First, it needs a way to determine the value. Since any digital goods can be copied and replicated easily, the metaverse needs a way to identify the authenticity of the goods and the owners.

Just as you won’t pay the same price for a faulty car or a fake Gucci knockoff, you likely don’t want to pay the same price for any digital goods that are replicas of the original – even though they look the same.

Secondly, the metaverse needs a way to transact in the virtual world. It needs virtual currency.

This is where non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies come to the rescue.

Both NFTs and cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology. While the technologies are quite complicated, their usages are quite simple to understand.

NFT acts as a certificate, like the title to a house. Even if the digital product itself can be replicated, the NFT cannot, and is always tied to the original. Hence, they’re called non-fungible tokens.

Cryptocurrency is a natural fit with the metaverse. Since the metaverse is virtual, it is always active, self-sustaining, and creates incredible possibilities in business. And many of these possibilities hold a basis in cryptocurrency.

It’s also common for metaverse platforms to create their own versions of cryptocurrency. For example, the popular NFT art collection marketplace, Bored Ape Yacht Club, has its own cryptocurrency called ApeCoin.

How Do You Get Into The Metaverse?

Currently, there is no standard way to access the metaverse. Different metaverse platforms may have different requirements. But, in most cases, you can start exploring the metaverse with the devices you already have – a computer or a mobile device.

Just like accessing any platform on the internet, you’re typically required to set up a user account.

Most platforms allow users to start for free. If you want to engage in any commercial activities, you’d need to set up a cryptocurrency wallet.

How Major Brands Are Getting Involved

Some of the businesses preparing for the metaverse include major names such as Nike, Adidas, and Vans.

In October of 2023, Nike filed several trademark applications for its popular slogans and iconography (like “Just Do It” and the iconic checkmark), allowing it to make and sell virtual goods.

This occurred in tandem with Mark Zuckerberg announcing Meta.

Adidas is making its foray into the metaverse with collaborative NFT projects (which have since sold out), creating exclusive collectibles with other artists. Its NFTs collectively sold for over $22 million.

The brand has affirmed the NFT community by investing in NFTs as a company and has bought a large plot of land in the metaverse to host virtual parties and events.

It is one of the first corporations to not only release NFTs but to actually invest in the metaverse ecosystem itself.

Vans is also getting involved. The company has built an online skate park that’s already seen upwards of 48 million visitors. This type of engagement is unparalleled – in-person events simply can’t hold the same capacity of people. Customers can also shop in Vans’ virtual store to earn points and customize an avatar.

But while some brands are sold on the metaverse, others are more hesitant to get involved. With pandemic restrictions easing, many consumers have been eager to connect in person, drawing their interest away from virtual meeting places.

In addition to this, the rise of generative AI as a tool has become a shiny new tool that has captured the interest of both consumers and brands.

These are just a couple of reasons why the metaverse has taken off with some brands but not others.

Advertising And Marketing To Gen Z

A key objective for brands to get into the metaverse is to reach the next generation of consumers: Gen Z.

Digitally native Gen Z has proven to be tricky to market to; They possess an intuitive understanding of technology unprecedented in previous generations.

According to some reports, Gen Z considers digital lives as important as physical ones; for some, there is little to no differentiation. The virtual world and social media are not separate lives but further extensions of their more present, physical reality.

It also makes friendships around the globe more of a present reality and means exposure to brands they might not normally discover.

This boasts a two-fold impact on marketing and selling potential for brands: exposure is unlimited by physical constraints, and physical and digital goods become players of equal value.

Per Nike’s example, a virtual shoe is not of lesser value because it exists in the digital sphere – it holds the capability to compete.

If a brand’s target audience is going digital, it’s no surprise that brands must pursue digital innovation to compete.

B2B Metaverse: Virtual Conferences And Workplaces

The metaverse is as important in the business-to-business (B2B) space as for business-to-consumer (B2C) brands.

Companies that depended on conferences and trade shows had to pivot – and fast.

The metaverse offers significant opportunities for companies to meet through virtual reality, saving businesses and attendees money on travel, lodging, and other associated costs.

Numerous start-ups, such as Flox and Virtway Events, are trying to seize the opportunities by offering platforms for businesses to create immersive virtual conferences and events.


The metaverse is still in its infancy stage. While its infrastructure is still being set up, some companies and brands are jumping at the opportunity to be a part of this new world.

It is worth noting, however, that while some brands are diving into the metaverse feet-first, others appear to be stepping back from their metaverse initiatives.

In early 2023, both Disney and Microsoft announced they were shutting down their respective metaverse units. Even Meta seems to be paring down its efforts slightly, having let go of some of its metaverse division employees in recent company layoffs.

But this doesn’t mean the metaverse is going away – far from it.

Much like the internet in the 90s, the metaverse has great potential to shape businesses and people’s lives. The technologies, usages, and business models around the metaverse are rapidly evolving.

As the proliferation of websites highlighted Web 1.0 and the adoption of social media represented Web 2.0, the metaverse could be the signature for Web 3.0.

No one knows how the metaverse will evolve in the future. But one thing is certain – it’s no longer science fiction. It’s already here.

More resources:

Featured Image: Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Keygen.exe: What It Is And How To Remove It

Keygen.exe: What it is and How to Remove it Learn everything about this tool




Keygen.exe is a pirated software that can be carrying Trojans and malware.

Its purpose is to create license keys for users in order to illegally register the software.

This hack tool is barely used nowadays, but, is still present within the pirating community. 

To get rid of it, you can try to scan your PC with a reliable Windows 10 built-in security tool or use dedicated malware software.

ESET Antivirus comes with all the security tools that you may ever need to protect your data and privacy, including:

Anti-theft support

Webcam protection

Intuitive setup and UI

Multi-platform support

Banking-level encryption

Low system requirements

Advanced anti-malware protection

An antivirus program needs to be fast, efficient, and cost-effective, and this one has them all.

Pirated versions of software often come accompanied by security threats. Most of the time, they require secondary applications to run or register.

One of those is chúng tôi a simple application that can bring a bag full of malware or spyware right at your front door.

Our intention today is to explain what chúng tôi is, how it can affect your PC, and how to deal with it. If you’re concerned about the negative effects, look below for a detailed explanation.

Is Keygen safe?

Named also Key Generator, is a hack tool but not malware per se. It mostly comes with pirated software and its main use is to create license keys so users can illegally register the desired application.

Even though this tool isn’t malware by itself, it’s still illegal for obvious reasons, and it can be carrying Trojan, viruses, or data-stealing keyloggers that will damage your PC.

In comparison to cracks, Keygen doesn’t modify any parts of the program. Modifying certain security algorithms enables any random license key to work.

After you’re prompted to insert the license key during the installation, this hack application will generate a code so you can manually insert it.

How can I remove the chúng tôi virus? 1. Perform a quick virus scan

1. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.

2. Go to the Update & Security section.

3. Select Windows Security from the left panel.

You can remove the chúng tôi file from your PC by conducting a virus scan. Your built-in Windows antivirus can scan your PC and not only find the tool, but also provide you with options as to what to do to remove it.

If you’re keen to get rid of Keygen and other related files, you can do it by deleting them manually. Just completely delete the downloaded files and that should be it.

On the other hand, there’s a chance that your system is already infected. Therefore, any infections detected may mean you will have some data loss.

Want to know how to scan your PC with Windows Defender Offline? Check our detailed guide for more info.

2. Use a third-party antimalware software for a deep scan

Making sure that your PC is protected from the effects of the malware presence is of utmost importance. In this case, we suggest a full scan with a modern antivirus solution.

This antivirus is a next-generation security solution that is designed to be fast, stay out of the way, and keep your digital life safe.

It offers complete protection against viruses, worms, spam, spyware, and other malware. This AI-powered antivirus is continually improving itself.

We also recommend you keep your computer safe by installing the recommended antivirus or any of these great malware remover tools.

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What Is Nat, How Does It Work, And Why Is It Used?

You might have heard of something called an IP Address, – if you haven’t, start off by reading our article explaining the concept – but for this article on NAT (Network Address Translation) you need to know that IP addresses are limited. You also can’t have two devices on a network with the same IP address. 

The problem is that different networks, such as your home network and computers on the internet as a whole, will inevitably have the same IP addresses or have incompatibilities in how their network addresses are set up. NAT solved both the problem of IP address scarcity and incompatible networks that need to talk to each other. 

Table of Contents

Most of the time it’s not something you need to worry about, but sometimes your internet woes are a result of NAT going wrong. So having a basic understanding of what NAT is and how it works can help solve the issue.

Where Does NAT Happen?

In the case of regular users like us, NAT is a job handled by your router. The router has an IP address assigned to it by your service provider. That’s the address that the rest of the internet sees. Every device on your home network is assigned a private IP address, which is what they’ll use to talk to each other. 

When a device on your network wants to communicate with the outside world, the router stands in for it. The router has a public IP address, which everyone else sees. It keeps track of which private IP addresses requested what traffic and makes sure the data packets are routed to the right device.

Private Vs Public IP Addresses

By convention, certain ranges of IP addresses are reserved for specific purposes. Public IP addresses are reserved for the internet-facing devices such as your router or web servers. Your ISP allocates a public IP address to your router and that’s the address that all outsiders on the web see. Typically a private internet address is something like 192.168.0.X or 10.1.1.X, but this varies from one router to the next. While private addresses have to be unique within a private network, they are almost certainly the same between private networks.

A public IP address, as mentioned above, is the one seen by everyone else on the internet. When you visit a website, your browser is connected to its public IP address. Typically, home routers don’t allow direct access through its public IP address that wasn’t initiated by it. This means you can’t just type in the public address of your friend’s router and have access to devices on their network.

However, some web services and devices, such as video game consoles, need a more lenient approach. This is where various NAT types come into play. Often problems arise from your connection’s NAT type being wrong for the type of service you’re trying to use. We’ll cover NAT types in more detail next.

NAT Types

While the basic idea of what NAT is isn’t too complicated, in practice there’s a lot of nuance to how it actually works. There are various types of NAT that are appropriate for different translation needs. 

Static NAT

The static style of NAT maps one specific private IP address to a specific public IP address. With static NAT it’s possible to access the device mapped to the public address directly. 

This is the type of NAT used for web servers that are also part of a private network. When accessing the server through this static map, you can’t also access the other devices on its private network. The server itself, however, can talk to the devices on its private network with no issue.

Dynamic NAT

Dynamic NAT is used when you have a pool of public IP addresses that you want to dynamically assign to the devices on your private network. 

This is not used for web server access from outside the network. Instead, when a device on the private network wants to access the internet or another resource not on the private network, it is assigned one of the public IP addresses in the pool. 

NAT Overload (PAT)

With elements of both static and dynamic NAT, the NAT overload style is the most common form and is what most home routers use. It’s known as NAT with Port Address Translation (PAT) among other names.

In most cases, your router has one public IP address assigned to it, yet all the devices on your network probably want internet access. Using NAT overload the router sets up a connection between its public IP address and that of the server. It then sends the packets to the server, but also assigns a return destination port. 

This helps it know which packets are meant for which IP address on your private network. That’s the PAT part of the process, incidentally.

Proprietary NAT Types

To muddle things even more, some companies have decided to slap their own NAT classifications on things. This is mostly applicable to game consoles and you’ll find that when you do a network test, it will tell you that you’re using something like NAT Type 2 or NAT Type D. 

These classifications are specific to the console or device makers and you should check their official documentation to figure out what each classification actually means.

Common Fixes for NAT Issues

Most of the time, for most people, NAT works perfectly and with complete transparency. Sometimes however, it malfunctions or gets in the way. 

Once again, game consoles are most likely to run into issues, because some of their services need your network to accept access requests to your public IP address from outside, since standard NAT configurations usually don’t allow this. The good news is that there are a few common fixes you can try to make NAT less restrictive and allow incoming connections.

You also have the option of doing manual port forwarding, so that devices that need a less strict connection can get it on a case-by-case basis.

It’s Only NATural 

Exit Status 5: Access Is Denied. What Is It & How To Fix It

Exit Status 5: Access Is Denied. What Is It & How to Fix It Disabling your antivirus is one effective way to fix this issue








Today we’ll show you how to fix Error 5: Access is denied in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Error 5: Access is denied will prevent the installation of certain programs and apps.

This is usually related to certain admin rights, so we’ll show you how to adjust a few settings to fix E

xit status 5 Access is denied via Powershell.

Exit status 5: Access is denied can be fixed by using the CMD as well.



To fix Windows PC system issues, you will need a dedicated tool

Fortect is a tool that does not simply cleans up your PC, but has a repository with several millions of Windows System files stored in their initial version. When your PC encounters a problem, Fortect will fix it for you, by replacing bad files with fresh versions. To fix your current PC issue, here are the steps you need to take:

Download Fortect and install it on your PC.

Start the tool’s scanning process to look for corrupt files that are the source of your problem

Fortect has been downloaded by


readers this month.

Error 5: Access is denied is primarily a software installation error message.

Consequently, when this error message pops up, users can’t install certain software. The cause is usually account permissions.

In this article, we explain how to change permissions and troubleshoot the mentioned error.

What is error code 5?

Error Code 5 is a Windows error code that shows whenever the user does not have adequate authority to access the requested file or location.

This could be because the user does not have administrative privileges.

Why do I keep getting error 5?

There are a series of reasons you get the access denied error on Windows 11. The major one is that your system is yet to grant permission to the user account you are currently using. Below are some of the variations of the error:

Error 5 access is denied putty

Error 5 access is denied Windows service

Error 5 access is denied DISM

Error 5 access is denied win32 disk imager

Error 5 access is denied robocopy

Error 5 access is denied dev c++

Visual Studio Code error 5 access is denied

System error 5 has occurred

Error 5 access is denied Windows 11

The authorization of the user failed with error 5

Operating system error 5(access is denied.)

Exit status 5 access is denied. stack overflow

Exit status 5 access is denied vscode

Exit status 5: access is denied. windows

The process’ exit code is exited and its exit status is 255

NVM use exit status 5: access is denied

Nonetheless, you can address these errors by following the solutions below.

How do I fix error 5 access denied? 1. Switch off or change the antivirus software

Error 5: Access is denied could be due to third-party antivirus software. Some programs can mistake a genuine setup wizard to be something else, which is otherwise false positive detection.

The best solution would be to use an antivirus that detects few false positives or none at all. Up-to-date antivirus software should not faultily detect malicious software as they keep real-time records of all threats, old and new.

You can find plenty of Windows 10 compatible antivirus tools that can silently run in the background and protect you at all times without triggering false alerts or interfering with your system.

If you prefer using your current antivirus, switch it off temporarily to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with the installer.

You can temporarily switch off antivirus software by selecting a disable option on the context menus. For example, Avast includes an Avast shield control setting on its context menu.

Alternatively, you can also leave anti-virus utilities out of the Windows startup via Task Manager as follows.

2. Run the installer as admin

Expert tip:

3. Switch your user account to an admin profile

If selecting the Run as administrator option doesn’t do the trick, you might need to install the software within an admin user account.

Thus, you might need to convert your standard account to an admin one. This is how you can switch your profile to an administrator one via the Control Panel:

Open Run by pressing the Win key + R hotkey.

Input netplwiz in the text box, and press its OK button.

Select your user profile, and press the Properties button.

Then select the Group Membership tab to open the options menu.

Select the Administrator option, and press the Apply and OK buttons.

4. Enable the built-in admin account via Command Prompt

 Press the Windows key + X hotkey.

Then select Command Prompt (Admin).

Input the following command and press Enter: net user administrator /active:yes

Thereafter, close the Prompt and try to install the required software.

You can disable the built-in admin profile by entering net user administrator /active:no

5. Open the Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter

Microsoft’s Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter can fix installation errors. That’s especially the case if there are corrupt registry keys blocking software installation.

Then open the downloaded troubleshooter, and press the Next button to run it.

6. Move the installer to the C: Drive

If you’re opening the installer from an alternative drive to the one Windows is on (usually the C: drive), move the setup wizard to the C: drive.

Then you’ll see a Move to the tooltip.

Let go of the left mouse button to move the installer. Thereafter, you can open the program’s setup wizard from the C: drive.

7. Adjust the UAC Settings 8. Restore Windows with System Restore

The Error 5: Access is denied message can pop up as a result of a corrupted system account or active directory, as well. Restoring Windows to an earlier date will fix such issues.

The solutions mentioned above will help you fix the Error 5: Access is denied error in Windows so that you can install the required software.

Aside from those resolutions, scanning the registry with a registry cleaner is never a bad idea.

Updating antiquated drivers might also fix the issue.

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Antitrust: What Is It, And Why Is Apple Being Investigated?

There are growing concerns that Apple could be facing an anti-trust investigation by the US Department of Justice.

What does antitrust mean?

In most jurisdictions around the world, it is illegal for large companies to band together to form agreements or “trusts” to behave in a particular way – for example, to all sell their products for the same high price. Laws designed to outlaw this type of behavior are called antitrust legislation.

However, the term is used more generally to refer to laws designed to prevent companies from engaging in any kind of anti-competitive action – that is, do anything that would tend to artificially distort competition within a market.

One common myth is that antitrust laws only apply to monopolies. This is very much not the case: They apply to any company large enough to have a dominant position in any market. As we shall see below, the definition of the word “market” can be crucial to deciding whether antitrust concerns arise.

Why is Apple facing antitrust investigations?

First, Apple is a very large company, and it would be very easy for a company of that size to commit antitrust violations, so it is to be expected that any massive corporation would be put under the antitrust microscope.

But in Apple’s case, there are some more specific concerns based on the company”s market dominance in particular areas. These are addressed below.

What are the antitrust concerns with Apple?

There are a number of different ones, in areas as diverse as ad tracking and Sign In With Apple, but here are three of the main ones.

The App Store

The biggest antitrust concern is the App Store.

Apple argues that it does not have a dominant position in this market, as it considers the relevant market to be either “smartphones” or “apps.” Since the company holds a minority share of the smartphone market in most of the countries in which it operates, it believes it cannot be considered to have a dominant position.

Competition regulators tend to take the view that the relevant market is “iOS apps,” and here Apple has a 100% monopoly on their sale and distribution. Edge cases aside, there is no way for a developer to bring an iOS app to market without selling it through the App Store.

Companies like Epic Games argue that they should be allowed to sell in-app purchases without Apple taking a cut of their revenue. The argument here is that Apple harms developers by taking part of their income, and consumers by forcing developers to charge more to make up for Apple’s cut. Apple, in response, says that it is perfectly normal for a company to take a cut of the sales it facilitates.

Default apps Relationships with carriers and retailers

Apple has also been found guilty in more than one country of exploiting a dominant position within the smartphone market to place undue demands on carriers and retailers.

Because the popularity of iPhones meant carriers had to sell them, Apple was able to dictate terms. In South Korea, for example, it was accused of imposing three onerous conditions on local carriers:

Additional areas of concern range from Apple Pay to a 4K video codec alliance!

What could happen to Apple as a result?

Antitrust outcomes will usually happen on a country-by-country basis, though there are exceptions. In Europe, for example, it is likely that the European Union will act as a bloc, and that any legislation applying to Apple will apply across all 27 member countries.

The worst-case scenario for Apple is for the US government to call for the breakup of the company. For example, it might be ruled that Apple Inc cannot run an App Store while also selling the iPhones on which those apps run. This is not a likely outcome, however.

A more likely scenario is a series of smaller changes. For example, Apple might be required to appoint an independent oversight board to carry out app reviews, or that it must allow Spotify to offer in-app subscriptions without taking a cut.

How is Apple responding?

In public, Apple’s stance is an outraged one, arguing that it does not have a dominant position and is doing nothing wrong. Behind closed doors, the company is aware that it either has to change some of its practices, or be forced to do so by law.

For example, while publicly declaring that a 30% commission on apps was industry standard, Apple made a massive U-turn by introducing the Small Business Program, with a 15% commission instead. Although touted as applying to the smallest developers, it in fact applies to 98% of them. It would be more accurate to say that the App Store now has a standard commission rate of 15%, with a higher 30% rate applying only to a tiny minority of companies.

The company has also quietly made a number of other changes in direct response to antitrust concerns, for example, opening up the Find My app to third-party accessories, and allowing people to change their default email app and web browser.

However, Apple is still sticking its head in the sand and hoping the issue will go away – when it absolutely won’t.

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