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Windows 11 takes aim at Apple and Google

In debuting Windows 11 on Thursday, Microsoft revealed not only a new operating system, but also its sharpest attack yet on the business practices of rivals Google and Apple.

Why it matters: Microsoft still holds the lion's share of the personal computer market. However, it is now trailing in the broader, three-way battle to power all the devices we use to access the internet.


The big picture: Alongside a significant visual revamp, Windows 11 brings a number of business changes that take direct aim at Microsoft's nearest rivals.

  • With Windows 11, developers can put a wide variety of apps in Microsoft's store, including web apps alongside traditional and modern Windows programs.
  • Microsoft is reducing its cut from apps that use its payment platform from 30% to 15%, expanding on a prior move to cut fees on games sold through the store.
  • Those that want to use their own payment system can do so and pay nothing to Microsoft.
  • Windows 11 will also support Android apps via Amazon's App Store.

Between the lines: The moves are designed primarily to appeal to developers, but could also increase pressure on rivals to lower their App Store fees.

  • CEO Satya Nadella told Axios last month that he wanted to see lower App Store fees in general and hinted that the next version of Windows would up the pressure on that front.
  • Regulators around the globe have also been investigating Apple and Google's App Store policies and practices, while "Fortnite" developer Epic is suing both companies in an effort to force them to allow rival in-app purchase mechanisms.

What they're saying: Nadella drew a sharp contrast between Microsoft and rivals in his closing remarks Thursday, although he did so in his typically non-confrontational style.

  • "Windows has always stood for sovereignty for creators and agency for consumers, and with Windows 11 we have a renewed sense of Windows’ role in the world," Nadella said.

Yes, but: Critics were quick to point out that Windows 11 bundles in the video and text features from Teams.

  • The bundling of additional features into Windows was at the heart of the government's epic antitrust case against Microsoft two decades ago.
  • The company has largely avoided antitrust scrutiny in recent years, but critics and rivals may use this to try to make sure that Microsoft isn't left out of new legislation.
  • Although Microsoft isn't bundling all of Teams into Windows, the move is unlikely to sit well with companies such as Slack and Zoom.

My thought bubble: The platforms that Microsoft competes with, including Mac, iOS and Android, already bundle far more features and services with their operating systems than Microsoft does. Windows also puts competing apps on a far more level playing field.

Go deeper: Microsoft rolls dice on support for Android

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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