I think everyone can agree that 2008 was a much simpler time to exist in the world. Sure, the world was suffering from the worst financial crisis since the great depression, with banks getting bailed out left and right, but amid the chaos and jetsam, a beautiful new realm of technology was born, and she was beautiful. In July of 2008, Apple (AAPL) launched the App Store, the first mobile marketplace for developers to conceptualize, build, and offer to consumers mobile applications for new iPhones. Apple (AAPL) went from no apps to hundreds of them overnight, and for the first time, iPhone users had a centralized place to safely purchase and download apps. After ten years of bitmojis, Tinder, and selfies posted on Instagram (FB), I feel comfortable saying that any issue, interest, or project in your life can be paired with an app offered by Apple’s (AAPL) App Store.
And this, my friends, is where our story begins…
Though the App Store has been revered for its ease of use, in terms of the user experience for consumers, iPhone users cannot download mobile applications from anywhere other than Apple’s own marketplace. Apple (AAPL) does not allow the use of third-party applications on its iOS devices, effectively forcing its customers to use the App Store. In addition to this digital stranglehold, while app developers set their prices for their apps, Apple (AAPL) takes 30% commission on each paid download.
If you think Apple (AAPL) taking a third of the profits from app developers seems hefty, the company’s terms and conditions for developers selling on the App Store prevents developers from selling their apps on any other marketplaces. Many see these conditions as enabling Apple (AAPL) to create a monopoly for app distribution. Following a lawsuit filed in 2011 against Apple (AAPL) for its alleged unfair monopolization, the company decided to take its case to the US Supreme Court to end the antitrust lawsuit.
According to CNBC, the case hinges on how the Supreme Court justices will apply one of the court’s past decisions to the claims made against Apple (AAPL). The last related ruling, from 1977, “limited damages for anti-competitive conduct to those directly overcharged rather than indirect victims who paid an overcharge passed on by others.” Legal jargon aside, the 1977 ruling states that the only individuals who can collect damages from antitrust claims are those who were “directly overcharged.”
This language is key because, until recently, App Store users hadn’t been considered direct purchasers, because Apple (AAPL) claims it only acted as the middle-man between the consumer and the developer. Last year, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Apple (AAPL) was a distributor which sold products, and most importantly, iPhone Apps directly to consumers.
“Apple’s intentionally closed system prevents competition which enables the App Store to collect a higher price than if Apple were forced to entice the app seekers in a competitive market.”
–David Frederick, Legal Counsel for Plaintiffs
As both sides of the case throw their arguments at the mercy of the Supreme Court, the issue is substantially more straightforward than either side realizes. Antitrust lawsuits pertaining to monopolies can only be contested by the direct purchaser, and the justices will have to decide whether Apple (AAPL) is a direct distributor to consumers or if App Store developers are the only people able to sue for antitrust damages.
Legal experts have pointed out that Monday’s supreme court hearing will not have a massive immediate impact on the day-to-day operations of the App Store, but it may serve as a wakeup call for tech consumers who feel inadvertently forced into purchasing certain products and services when they buy from different companies.
Biotech Stocks To Watch In June: Cara Therapeutics (CARA) & Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Among biotech companies, the competition between Cara Therapeutics Inc (CARA) and Intellia Therapeutics Inc (NTLA) has been an intriguing one. The two companies had been on the same level as far as the market cap goes during most of the year so far.
But Cara has now pulled ahead by as much as $150 million following positive data from its lead product candidate. That being said, it is also important to keep in mind that if an investor is looking at a long term investment, then the disparity in market cap between the two companies is a minor. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of Cara and Intellia.
Cara Therapeutics (CARA)
Cara Therapeutics is currently on the rise. Its lead product candidate Korsuva injection delivered highly encouraging results in its Phase 3 trial. It’s now believed that it would not be long before Cara has its first product on the market.
It is meant for the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus. According to reports, the results were great. Another late-stage test is going to be conducted soon. The results could be announced by the end of this year. If Korsuve is approved, then it will be marketed by Fresenius Medical Care and Vifor Pharma Group.
Cara has entered joint ventures with those companies to market the product in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. An oral version of Korsuva is also in the pipeline and could prove to be another important development.
Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Intellia Therapeutics (INTA) is involved in creating CRISPR gene editing therapies. It is a segment that has a lot of promise in the future. Even though the company is some years away from having anything on the market, the promise of gene editing therapy is exciting. So much so that Intellia has already found partners in big-ticket firms like Regeneron and Novartis.
Intellia is expected to file for FDA approval for the clinical study into its lead product NLTA-2001 in 2020. It is meant for the treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis, an uncommon genetic disease. Studies into the products have proven to be promising so far. The company is also working on a product to treat myeloid leukemia.
Now when it comes to choosing between Cara and Intellia, experts believe that the former could a better company. It’s already on the verge of having an approved product on the market. Intellia, on the other hand, is likely to be some years away from winning approval.
4 Security Penny Stocks To Watch
As Threats Arise, Security Stocks Take Center Stage In 2019
With the Federal Reserve’s meeting coming, the general market is bracing for anything. Meanwhile, penny stocks are continuing to climb at absurd rates. Trading penny stocks as of late has brought many investors fruitful profits and they look to continue this trend. Here are some security penny stocks to watch for the remainder of June 2019:
Security Penny Stock #1
Liberty Defense Holdings (SCAN.V)
Market Cap: $46.404M
Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd. (SCAN.V) is a security company looking to take the industry into the next century. Liberty’s HEXWAVE product is a 3-dimensional scanning device that can detect weapons and threats of any kind. The product can do this both with speed and discretion ensuring privacy for citizens.
Liberty signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the soccer team FC Bayern München to beta test HEXWAVE in their arena. They join an ever-growing list of places that have signed MOU’s to beta test Liberty’s product. This MOU expands its ability to comply with and test the market requirements for their product internationally.
“The reception to our HEXWAVE product has been fantastic and we are excited about working alongside FC Bayern Munich, a team that is a household name in both Europe and North America, […] Our ability to deploy in both indoor and outdoor settings, with covert and overt applications, sets us apart and has also been driving increasing interest from the market.”Bill Riker, CEO of Liberty
Security Penny Stock #2
Magal Security Systems (MAGS)
Market Cap: $101.371M
Magal Security Systems Ltd. (MAGS) provides security solutions both online and physical. Some services provided include identifying potential security problems, integrating new systems, and custom designs for any type of security needs.
Recently, Magal received a $5.5 million contract for its advanced perimeter intrusion detection system. The system prevents people from illegally crossing border fences and walls.
Dror Sharon, CEO of Magal, stated, “Magal is a world leader in perimeter intrusion technologies. Our growing wins of orders such as this – providing sensors for active international borders, is due to the decades of experience that we have in providing systems that have more than proven themselves in-the-field.”
Security Penny Stock #3
Rekor Systems (REKR)
Market Cap: $27.502M
Rekor Systems Inc. (REKR) is a company that has developed surveillance technology to enhance public safety, banking, and traffic management. Primarily, the company takes their advanced software, which utilizes machine learning and upgrades IP cameras to the next level. This reduces the cost when collecting highway tolls and helps manage traffic congestion.
Throughout June, Rekor Systems has been gaining recognition and application across the US. On June 3rd Rekor obtained a contract to start deploying its Mobile LBR-2 vehicle recognition systems. After this deployment on the 3rd, the LPR-2 system North Carolina law enforcement placed an order. On June 12th, Colorado highway authorities chose Rekor’s cloud system called NUMERUS to read enhance their license plate reading.
Security Penny Stock #4
BIO-key International (BKYI)
Market Cap: $18.03M
BIO-key International Inc. (BKYI) is a security technologies company that is pushing past the limits of fingerprint scanning. BIO-key provides a plethora of finger scanning products that provide security for your computer, hard drive, and the government. They have a partnership with Microsoft to develop biometric sign-in for Windows 10.
The company recently announced that a foreign defense ministry ordered more BIO-key deployment for secure access to Microsoft applications.
“We were delighted that such a capable and prestigious technology team determined that BIO-key met their security and scalability requirements and have now made follow-on investments to grow their user base. Defense Ministries are constant targets of cyber-attacks, and we are glad to help them step up authentication to the highest assurance with NIST-verified accuracy and FIPS compliance.”Jim Sullivan, SVP of BIO
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