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Spotify Rolls Out Easy Way to Set Up Backstage Developer Portals

Good Morning! Spotify has launched a new low-code way to set up Backstage developer portals, making it easier for teams to get started. Exploring how tech companies are pouring billions into advancing artificial intelligence capabilities, betting big on the AI revolution. Apple has loosened its App Store fee for some EU developers, exempting free and non-commercial apps from the controversial "Core Technology Fee" as part of complying with the EU's Digital Markets Act.

Spotify Rolls Out Easy Way to Set Up Backstage Developer Portals

Spotify has launched a new low-code way to get started with Backstage developer portals called Portal for Backstage. The new offering makes it much easier to get up and running with a Backstage instance without a ton of upfront work.

The Portal includes some helpful features to streamline the setup process:

  • A Setup Wizard that walks you through installing the Portal and connecting it to your code repo and cloud provider

  • A Catalog Wizard for pulling in all your existing services, websites, libraries, and other components into Backstage's central software catalog

It also comes pre-loaded with some handy tools and templates right out of the box, like:

  • Pre-built Software Templates so your team can quickly create new projects using approved, reusable templates for backend services, websites, and more

  • Popular Backstage plugins pre-installed, including Spotify's own Soundcheck plugin for automating quality checks across your software delivery lifecycle

  • Guides explaining how to further customize the portal to best fit your team's needs

The big idea is to lower those initial barriers to entry for teams interested in trying out Backstage. While Backstage can be self-hosted, the Portal provides an opinionated, pre-configured installation that gets you up and running fast - but you can still customize it down the road. Spotify is calling it "Backstage in a box."

Ultimately, the Portal aims to help teams quickly establish that centralized hub for managing all components of the software delivery process from day one. For any teams currently evaluating developer portal solutions, it's definitely worth checking out this new streamlined way to adopt the increasingly popular Backstage platform.

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Big Tech Bets on AI - Show Me the Money!

The AI revolution has truly arrived, and the tech companies are going all-in. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Meta are pouring billions into advancing artificial intelligence capabilities.

The spending levels are mind-boggling:

  • Amazon's finance chief Brian Olsavsky revealed the company's capital expenditures will increase significantly in 2024, primarily driven by higher infrastructure costs for generative AI at their cloud computing division AWS.

  • Over at Google's parent company Alphabet, CFO Ruth Porat stated capital expenditures hit a staggering $12 billion in just the first quarter alone. And she expects that astronomical number to keep climbing higher.

While the AI buzz is palpable and exciting, most of the investors are adopting a skeptical "show me" stance. There are concerns that this infrastructure overbuild frenzy could end up devouring profits down the line if it doesn't pay off.

But the tech executives remain extremely bullish and optimistic. Olsavsky highlighted that Amazon's generative AI business is already raking in billions in revenue annually.

Ultimately though, the market winners won't just be the ones investing the most money. Long-term success will go to the companies that can profitably monetize and scale the AI buzz into sustainable revenue growth at a massive scale. Simply investing billions isn't the end-all, be-all - delivering real-world returns is key.

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Apple Loosens App Store Fee for Some EU Developers

Context: Apple has been working to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) which aims to increase competition in app stores. As part of this, Apple introduced a controversial "Core Technology Fee" (CTF) of €0.50 per download after 1 million annual installs for developers who want to use alternative app stores, sideloading, and other newly allowed capabilities.

Free and non-commercial apps are now exempt from the CTF. According to Apple, this condition "gives students, hobbyists, and other non-commercial developers an opportunity to create a popular app without paying the fee." To qualify, the apps can't generate any revenue through advertising, digital goods, physical merchandise, or other means.

As for small businesses, Apple is providing a 3-year "free on-ramp" period for the CTF for developers earning under €10 million in global annual revenue. Here are the key details:

  • During this 3-year window, they won't pay the CTF even if crossing 1 million installs

  • However, if their revenue grows to €10-50 million in that period, they'll start paying the fee after 1 million installs up to a €1 million per year cap

The new DMA policies aren't just for iPhone apps either. Apple confirmed that the alternative terms with the CTF will extend to iPadOS apps later this fall when that platform comes under the DMA scope as well. Developers can choose to adopt the alternative terms or stick to Apple's standard policies.

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