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SkyDrive 3.0: Microsoft Gave Up Fighting Apple's 30% Cut 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-can't-beat-'em dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday released SkyDrive 3.0 for iOS out of the blue. Last time the app was in the news, Apple was stopping Microsoft from pushing out an update in the App Store because the company doesn't pay a 30 percent cut of the subscription revenue it generates. Now we've learned how Microsoft managed to update its iOS app today. 'We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told TNW. 'The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.' Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"
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SkyDrive 3.0: Microsoft Gave Up Fighting Apple's 30% Cut

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  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:14PM (#43351995) Homepage Journal

    It sounds like Microsoft didn't so much as give up, as go around Apple. If you buy on the web, Apple doesn't get the cut. Microsoft got the app into the app store. Pretty much seems like Microsoft got most of what they wanted, and Apple got nothing other than the ability to say their policy is still unviolated. Which, considering the nature of it, isn't exactly a great marketing ploy.

    • Yeah. I understand Apple's policy, but the only people who really lose are the consumers. I remember after this went into effect, the first time I went into my Amazon Kindle iOS app and tried to buy there. No button, no link, no freaking hint of how to buy a book. How do you do it? You buy on the web, then tell Amazon to synch to your device which you've registered.

      Works for Apple, I guess. I ended up just going to iBooks and buying there. I kind of despise Amazon anyway, but it would have been ni
      • It might get more people to use Apple's services, but what about apps which do not actually compete with any of Apple's offerings? Apple gets nothing from it since devs can bypass them by having purchases go through the web. Developers and users suffer because it is less convenient for people to make in-app purchases. Everyone loses with Apple's policy.
        • by mbkennel (97636) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:51PM (#43352337)

          No, Apple wins. Because there is competition between apps, and some app publishers will decide pay the 30% tax and make it easier for customers, and they might get more paying users that way.

          It's like those immensely profitable companies bleating that their money is "trapped" overseas and they can't use it to "invest" in the USA. No it isn't trapped at all, just pay the taxes.

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Apple is bound to lose over the long term, as products sold by them are 30% more expensive and that is the message that is now going out over this and many other forums. M$ won by publicising that Apple customers are paying 30% more for applications when they buy via iOS, they are cunning sods and can never be trusted. They will do it again, basically every time Apple let's them do it, very public negotiations, to ensure that Apple connedsumers are aware they are paying 30% more for Apple sourced products.

            • by warrigal (780670)

              Well, it's just as well nobody else charges 30% for in-app sales through their curated App Store on top of the initial sale...
              What? Who? Oh!

            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by sosume (680416)

              Apple is riding high now, and as we all know, pride comes before the fall. Apple WILL go down within the next two to three years and nobody will help them as they've been acting as a bunch of spoiled bullies for the last five years. They have not made a single friend in the tech industry.

            • Apple is bound to lose over the long term, as products sold by them are 30% more expensive

              Do you have any evidence for that? Thought not.

              a) If services aren't sold through Apple's system, then they need to be sold through another system. And none of them are free. Not even home-rolled ones. 30% is decent value for the service.

              b) Software products are priced to end users by what the market will bear, not by a bill-of-materials.

          • Why would any sane person counsel someone to pay taxes? If YOU had 1 billion overseas while staring at the prospect of losing 30% of it to nothing, YOU would not repatriate it either sir. The people keeping the money overseas are just like you, no different, they don't have horns, they are just people. People you whimsically elect to have forcefully separated from their property so it can be drained of its value and swallowed into a black hole of wastefulness. As you may have guessed, you make me sick.

        • Users win from all the apps that DO use Apple's standard in-app purchase system, that gives them a standardised purchasing system, without having to enter name address and credit-card details over and over again to each different service.

          Apple makes it easy for developers to to the right thing for users, and hard to do the user hostile thing.

          • ...and easier for the unscrupulous to swipe details as they're easily located...

            • Stupid comment. If one company has your details, that's far safer than if 100 companies have them.

              • Yes... and No.

                It depends I suppose on whether you reckon that 1 known (or easily deducible) database structure is safer than 100 databases where you have no idea how the data is stored.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        No button, no link, no freaking hint of how to buy a book.

        If there had been the app wouldn't have made it into the store.

        Works for Apple, I guess. I ended up just going to iBooks and buying there

        Rewarding the asshole moves isn't going to ever make them stop.

        I kind of despise Amazon anyway, but it would have been nice to have the choice while maintaining a similar end-user experience.

        What was amazon supposed to do? Raise prices everywhere so they could afford to give Apple a 30% cut off the top? That's ridi

        • I bought the previous round, which had xplatform games for Win/Mac/Linux and Android. But not IOS, even though several (all?) of the games are available on IOS.

          You cannot buy a license to cross-platform ios games because there is no way get the game to you. You can't side load the game. And you can't even download a locked game and then activate it via a key or something because that implies that you are working around the apple store and "ripping apple off its 30% take" and "that's not allowed".

          Kind of pathetic that even charity is a victim of apple's policies here.

          First of of "HumbleBundle" are not a charity. They are a business that uses charity and the work of developers to promote themselves and profit.

          Secondly, there is absolutely nothing to stop humblebundle, selling apps through the App Store, or using in app purchase, and donating some or all of their profits to charity.

          That the humble-bundle's chosen business model, designed after the App Store was opened, isHumble-Bundle's choice, not Apple's.

          Remember, Apple's success with creating an app ecosystem is BECAUS

          • by vux984 (928602)

            First of of "HumbleBundle" are not a charity.

            I didn't say HumbleBundle was a charity. I said charity was a victim.

            They are a business that uses charity and the work of developers to promote themselves and profit. ...and profit the developers, and support charity. You seem to have a real axe to grind here, why?

            Their default funds allocation gives 65% to the developers, 20% to charity, and 15% to themselves, and they let the customer change those numbers if they want. As far as 'for profit' business models g

            • Yes, lets blame humble-bundle's chosen business model of selling crossplatform licenses as the problem here.

              It's not a problem. It's simply their choice of business model. Just as the App Store is Apple's. And their choice to do that, and to stick to it is what prevents them doing business on iOS. Not anything Apple does. 10s of thousands of other developers have no problem selling on the App Store. Why does HumbleBundle choose to do things in a way that means they can't? I don't know. It's their choice. But it certainly isn't Apple's fault or problem.

              I don't know about you, but I actually am a mobile developer,

              • by vux984 (928602)

                10s of thousands of other developers have no problem selling on the App Store.

                Talk about selection bias. Nearly all developers who have a problem selling on the app store aren't ios developers. How neat how that works out.

                But even so the app store model is a good idea and works for a lot of things.

                I think I actually whooped. It;s that good. If you don't know why,...

                Oh, I completely understand why -you- like it. But it's pathetic you can't understand why it's not suitable for everyone.

                I have ~100 games on

                • Talk about selection bias. Nearly all developers who have a problem selling on the app store aren't ios developers.

                  Sure. And that's their self-manufactured problem.

                  Oh, I completely understand why -you- like it. But it's pathetic you can't understand why it's not suitable for everyone.

                  Why does it have to be suitable for every developer? Is there some kine of equal opportunities social programme for developers that I missed?

                  If someone sets up in business making things out of wicker, then they are going to be excluded from the stores that sell pine furniture. If they want to be in the store that sells pine furniture, then they need to sell pine, not complain that the pine store is discriminating against them.

                  Life would be simpler if the only store in town was walmart and it was illegal to open a competing store. Simpler. But not better.

                  Not a suitable analogy. Here's wh

                  • by vux984 (928602)

                    People then move to that new land because they like the environment there, and the one stop shop Walmart store.

                    And companies that sell goods that are not suitable for sale in a Walmart store complain that they can't sell there.

                    And then people that want goods not available at walmart realize they can't buy them... at all... anywhere. Because not only did walmart prohibit other stores from opening on paradise island, but apparently they built a prison wall around it blockaded all the ports so you can't impor

                    • Are you an iPhone user? Because it only seems to be Android users that have a problem with this. And they don't even have the phone.

                      You're up to item #43 on the playbook: "Explain the success of the hated product by claiming the customers didn't know what they were doing."

                      Yes, although you lack the imagination to see it, iPhone users generally like having a one stop shop. Sure you'll find the odd one that doesn't, it's the squeaky wheel that makes the noise. And with the internet it's easy to find people

                    • by vux984 (928602)

                      Are you an iPhone user?

                      Had an iphone 3GS for 3 years. Switched to Android Galaxy S3.

                      Because it only seems to be Android users that have a problem with this

                      There's that selection bias again. People who have a problem with it avoid the phone.

                      "Explain the success of the hated product by claiming the customers didn't know what they were doing."

                      Everyone I know with an iphone (including me) think its a great phone, great user interface, and like the app store.

                      At the time I bought it I knew about the app store re

                    • Furthermore, if the paradox of choice was such a concern for apple that it couldn't bear the thought of its users having to bear the burden of even the OPTION of looking at a second store, it seems odd that it has no issue whatsoever presenting me with a full 30 pages of fart apps...

                      Point 2 in the App Store guidelines:

                      "We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted."

                      The fart apps date back to earlier days. What Apple should have in my opinion, is a way to clear out old apps that were never any good, don't sell, and are just adding noise to searches. But of course the Apple haters will have a problem with that too.

                  • by vux984 (928602)

                    If someone sets up in business making things out of wicker, then they are going to be excluded from the stores that sell pine furniture. If they want to be in the store that sells pine furniture, then they need to sell pine, not complain that the pine store is discriminating against them.

                    Right, but they can open their own store. And that would be fine too... except that the pine store has chained all its customers up in the basement and won't let them out.

            • I didn't say HumbleBundle was a charity. I said charity was a victim.... You seem to have a real axe to grind here, why?

              On that score my problem is not with HumbleBundle, but with you. You trying to paint this as a charity problem, when it's just a business that uses charity as promotion. It's almost like a "think of the children" plea.

              • by vux984 (928602)

                You trying to paint this as a charity problem

                No, I'm painting it as an cross-platform sales problem. IOS doens't seem to have any mechanism to support cross platform sales of apps. /shrug I'm sorry if the charity reference set you off, but I do see humblebundle as a good program, that has raised millions for charity, and I do think the only reason that it can't exist on IOS too is the result of Apple inflexibilility.

                I do think that if they could offer cross platform sales of ios versions they would, but the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Exact opposite for me, it ensures I'll never use iBooks, no matter how many times it prompts me to install it. I can ready my Kindle catalogue across all my devices, and buy pretty much all f my books on there. Weird how things have changed - I'll root for any company against Apple now. They're just a greedy shell with no innovations, leeching as much as they can from customers and devs alike. Fuck em.

        • by fyngyrz (762201)

          Same here. I own a raft of Kindle books. Zero iBooks. Apple can lick my dirty, dirty touchscreen.

        • Heck, can you even read books purchased from iBooks on a Mac? Last time I was dealing with books in the context of Apple ecosystem, iBooks was iOS-only, without even an OS X app.

      • Why would anyone despise Amazon? Seriously, is it the fast shipping, amazing customer service, prices that are 20% lower than Wal-Mart, ability to compare items, read reviews, buy books for $4 on just about any subject? Please, let us know the evil Amazon has done you.

        • Simply put, Amazon are the Wal-Mart of the Internet. Through economies of scale--as well as the fact that the management is heavily rewarded in the stock market for not making any profit--they are putting extreme pressure on small local businesses (as well as some other major players like Target, but I'm not shedding a tear for them), all the while subjecting their employees to slave-labor conditions.

          They are like a weed, growing quickly and killing everything around them. I've got nothing against corp
    • It sounds like Microsoft didn't so much as give up, as go around Apple.

      Microsoft did not give up anything and there was nothing to "get around". Apple's rules are very clear: in app purchases pay Apple a percentage, web purchases do not. No deceit involved by either party.

      • by laird (2705)

        Exactly right. Apple charges for providing the in-app and app-store purchasing infrastructure,marketing, consistent user experience with high adoption rates, etc., for which they charge 30%. Companies have been free to choose not to use it, and do try to drive people to web sites for purchasing for as long as there have been iOS apps. It's a simple decision, really. If you would lose more than 30% of your sales due to the "friction" you use Apple's in-store and in-app purchasing. And if you think that you w

        • by countach (534280)

          Yeah yeah, but its crap for consumers. The fact is Amazon can't afford to give Apple 30% because they'd be in the red. So consumers have a crap experience, and Apple's iBook store gets a rather unfair competitive advantage. I'm a big Apple fan, but I have to call them out in this instance of being annoying.

          • Even if Amazon could 'afford' it, they wouldn't. Amazon doesn't need Apple's service to make people realize you can buy e-books from Amazon. They've spent a lot of years getting people up to speed. A startup, on the other hand, selling (for instance) car service manuals on iPhone would find it worthwhile to pay Apple the 30% because otherwise nobody would have a clue that you had to go to such and such a website.
          • Oh poor amazon, they must be scraping by on pocket change. They can more than afford it. Every other company providing a payment service gets their cut even when you use a card in a real shop. Why do think apple should be the only one who gets nothing for use of their payment system? In fact apple is probably paying something to visa and MC, etc for transactions so you think they should lose money for amazon to profit off their work?
            • by PTBarnum (233319)

              If Apple were charging the kind of rates that credit card companies charge (1-3%), a lot fewer people would have a problem with that.

              Also, Apple wants to collect the fees even if you don't use their payment systems (e.g. provide an in-app link to a web page).

              • Yeah for good reason. To discourage you from asking people to go off to some shady website to enter your payment details. It's their reputation on the line too, perhaps more so, if they let a bunch of con-artists into the app store.
            • by countach (534280)

              No they can't afford it because if they set the retail price at 30% over their wholesale price they would be massively undercut by Apple's iBook store. It's a case of unfair competitive practice, that's all.

              • At least you get alternative options on the iPad and wasn't the issue that Apple and publishers wanted to charge more than Amazon and they were supposedly price fixing? Seems unlike Amazon, who wanted to sell ebooks at loss even, needs to worry about that.
        • by keytoe (91531)

          Companies have been free to choose not to use it, and do try to drive people to web sites for purchasing for as long as there have been iOS apps.

          It's certainly not true that this has always been the way it worked.

          Back in the iOS 1.x days, I was involved with developing an app that attempted to generate revenue using a 3rd party site. The app sat in 'waiting for approval' for months with no response from Apple no matter who we contacted. As soon as we removed that functionality and resubmitted, the app was

          • by ashpool7 (18172)

            Yeah, so... there was no app store requiring Apple approval in the "iOS 1.x days" That's the Jailbreak App Only era.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Companies have been free to choose not to use it, and do try to drive people to web sites for purchasing for as long as there have been iOS apps. It's a simple decision, really. If you would lose more than 30% of your sales due to the "friction" you use Apple's in-store and in-app purchasing. And if you think that you would lose less than 30% of your sales you sell access to service/content through the web site, and give the app away for free.

          Don't forget if you want to "go it alone" as well, you need to ha

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by exomondo (1725132)

          Exactly right. Apple charges for providing the in-app and app-store purchasing infrastructure,marketing, consistent user experience with high adoption rates, etc., for which they charge 30%.

          No, they charge $99 a year for that, which is why you pay that fee regardless of whether your app is free or paid.

          Companies have been free to choose not to use it, and do try to drive people to web sites for purchasing for as long as there have been iOS apps.

          In recent times they switched their policy on this matter to prevent you from even including a link to an external payment system.

          It's a simple decision, really.

          It should be, use Apple's payment system and pay 30% for the privilege, implement your own in-app payment system or link users to your own external payment system. Apple now artificially prevents the latter two.

    • by v1 (525388)

      It sounds like Microsoft didn't so much as give up, as go around Apple.

      I'm sure someone will rapidly correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't believe they can go around Apple. Software has to be signed to install, and only Apple has the key. That's why you have to jailbreak to run unsigned apps.

      The only way "around" that is to either (A) have updates that are "content" (new maps, skins, etc) that are data that does not need to be signed, or you have to run interpreted code and your main app downloads the

    • by khchung (462899)

      It sounds like Microsoft didn't so much as give up, as go around Apple. If you buy on the web, Apple doesn't get the cut. Microsoft got the app into the app store. Pretty much seems like Microsoft got most of what they wanted, and Apple got nothing other than the ability to say their policy is still unviolated. Which, considering the nature of it, isn't exactly a great marketing ploy.

      This approach is nothing new, Amazon did the same for its Kindle apps on iOS. You cannot buy books on iOS Kindle and have to do so through Amazon's website.

      The news is Microsoft relented and followed the same rules as others instead of fighting for special treatment.

    • by trdrstv (986999)
      Pretty much the same thing Amazon did. You can now use the MP3 App or Kindle app on iOS, but there's no "buy additional content" within the app. You need to buy on a pc / android etc...
      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        Pretty much the same thing Amazon did. You can now use the MP3 App or Kindle app on iOS, but there's no "buy additional content" within the app. You need to buy on a pc / android etc...

        You can buy Amazon ebooks through Safari on iPad then load them into the Kindle app.

    • You say this as if Microsoft has done some clever manoeuvring. But they've taken one of the two choices that Apple explicitly give. One which thousands of apps before have taken.

      The choice is, and has always been:

      1) You take the money via the App Store, either in the cost of the app, or by in app purchases. And Apple gets a 30% cut.

      2) You take the money outside the app. As you like. But you can't promote that within the app.

      (For the pedantic, yes there was a time before the App Store has in-app purchases. B

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:18PM (#43352045)
    The majority of iOS users would not want office since they do not use it in a productive manor. They use it to text, play games, and send pictures of their penis's / boobs to random people. no need for an access database to sort your penis pix.
  • Uhhhh . . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kimomaru (2579489) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:20PM (#43352069)
    "Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"

    No, it means I'm now officially tired of both companies. I hadn't realized that computers had just become red-tape machines instead of facilitators.
  • Microsoft offered up this compromise months ago. And besides, I thought the SkyDrive fight was just being used as a proxy, since the real battle is over Office revenues. No way in hell Microsoft lets Apple get a 30% cut of Office 365 revenue.
  • So Microsoft had to follow the same rules as every other developer...even after all of their stalling & complaining? Either pay the 30% cut to have in app purchases or have the purchase separate on the web & sync it separately. Just like Amazon and Nook and everyone else. And what precedent would it set? MS will put up a free "read only" version of MS Office for iOS in the app store, make you go to the Microsoft site to purchase it, and you'll get a key to unlock the remaining functionality or give
    • by dhavleak (912889)

      So Microsoft had to follow the same rules as every other developer...even after all of their stalling & complaining? Either pay the 30% cut to have in app purchases or have the purchase separate on the web & sync it separately.

      For you the customer (or potential customer) either the convenience of in-app purchases gets lost, or the purchases cost you 30% more for no good reason. You're happy about this why?

      Office is a potential 3 or 4 billion dollar business on the iPhone. That would make Apple roughly 1 billion dollars in revenue, for work they didn't do. Obviously that cost is passed on to customers. It's not just Microsoft -- it's kindle books from Amazon and many other things. Why do you want to pay more?

      Apple's rules cert

      • by DaHat (247651)

        There is a larger issue at hand I'd expect... subsequent billing... as services like SkyDrive, Office 365, Netflix, etc aren't just used on one device... and tend to be paid for on a regular cycle.

        Letâ(TM)s take MS out of it... letâ(TM)s say you buy an iPad, download the Netflix app and sign up for an account (something I do not believe the app supports)... by doing so Apple gets it's 30% cut... each month in theory.

        A year or three goes by and you decide to wipe your iPad and buy a non iOS device.

        • by dhavleak (912889)
          Oh absolutely these issues exist currently, and are not exclusive to MS. The only difference is that MS was the only one big enough to fight Apple on this matter (though it looks like even MS has caved now).
          • by DaHat (247651)

            True to a point... but they have also created their own little walled garden (Windows 8 apps) without as many of the policy restrictions as Apple... granted they are starting off quite far behind.

        • by teg (97890)

          There is a larger issue at hand I'd expect... subsequent billing... as services like SkyDrive, Office 365, Netflix, etc aren't just used on one device... and tend to be paid for on a regular cycle.

          Letâ(TM)s take MS out of it... letâ(TM)s say you buy an iPad, download the Netflix app and sign up for an account (something I do not believe the app supports)... by doing so Apple gets it's 30% cut... each month in theory.

          A year or three goes by and you decide to wipe your iPad and buy a non iOS device... in fact, you no longer have any Apple device in your home and now watch Netflix through a Roku or PS3... should Apple still be getting a 30% cut each and every month until you cancel the subscription and re-subscribe?

          In this case, Apple still has to handle costs for credit card processing, international currency and VAT handling, some customer care for billing etc.

          • by dhavleak (912889)

            In this case, Apple still has to handle costs for credit card processing, international currency and VAT handling, some customer care for billing etc.

            That doesn't add up. Apple artificially inserts themselves into the recurring transaction to get a cut -- they don't need to be involved in it at all. And 30% is still other-worldly ridiculous.

        • by chrismcb (983081)
          Apple only gets a cut if you make the purchase through them. Recurring subscriptions are not indefinite. They have to go through the Apple store on a monthly basis. If you sell your iPad, then you'll have to find some other mechanism for paying for your subscription... If that doesn't go through Apple, then they will no longer get a cut.
  • I wonder if any developers have bumped up rates for in app purchases (+30%) while still giving the option to buy on the website w/o the premium. Not sure if this would violate any rules, but this would seem to offer customers a choice, while exposing Apple's cut for convenience.
    • by mwolfe38 (1286498)

      I wonder if any developers have bumped up rates for in app purchases (+30%) while still giving the option to buy on the website w/o the premium. Not sure if this would violate any rules, but this would seem to offer customers a choice, while exposing Apple's cut for convenience.

      It is against apple's terms. And honestly, it's pretty ridiculous IMO. I don't see how they can both force you to use them for in app purchases, and then dictate that you must pay 30% for anything purchased through the app. Thank god apple didn't create the first web browser or every website that sold products would have to pay apple to do so.

  • Things came to a quick resolution after Steve Ballmer threatened to throw a chair at Tim Cook.
  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:54PM (#43352379) Homepage
    Apple explicitly allows this - I think this goes back a couple years with Kindle stuff. If you sell through apple, they get a cut. If you are going to take money thought the app, you have to do it via the AppStore, thus Apple will get a cut. The other provision is that if you allow you app to merelty talk to an existing "subscription", you can do that. You just cant do purchases, or exchange money through the app. For example, I can go to Amazon's web site and buy a Kindle book and link it to my Amazon account. I can get the Kindle app and look at any books in my Kindle account. I CANNOT however purchase books through the Kindle app while NOT doing this through Apple and the AppStore. This is why you can read Kindle books, but not purchase them via the iOS app.
    • by mbkennel (97636) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @06:06PM (#43352511)

      Pray they don't alter the deal any further.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They don't "allow it" - the only reason they don't try to extort money from companies selling via any other channel is because it'd be racketeering.

      Apple are a bunch of fucking greedy assholes.

    • by Hassman (320786)

      I remember when all the retailers were up in arms about credit cards and the exchange fee. How dare Visa and MC add a 3% surcharge in exchange for paying the retailer immediately and incurring all the risk of actually collecting the money owed. Recently the credit card companies want to up that surcharge a bit and it is getting massive media attention. "Would you pay 2% more for your clothes" and all the like...

      Now shift over to Apple's business model. It is the same damn thing....ya know, except Apple

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