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The food-delivery app has launched an on-demand grocery and prepared-meal delivery service for American customers in select cities across California and the Midwest. “More than 10,000 grocery items, from dairy and eggs to local produce to fresh meat and fish, will be available for delivery from participating grocery stores in less than one hour,” the company wrote in a post. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Grocery delivery is growing rapidly during the pandemic, and companies are trying to take advantage. DoorDash—already the largest player in the U.S. food-delivery market—began delivering from a wide range of convenience stores earlier this year through a new service called DashMart. Its competitors have been making similar moves. Instacart, while facing allegations of not properly protecting its workers, hired more than 550,000 shoppers to meet demand and is testing same-day delivery with Walmart. Uber, meanwhile, spent US$2.65 billion in stock to acquire online food-delivery service Postmates.

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The ride-hailing firms are considering licensing their brands to third-party vehicle-fleet operators to avoid granting drivers employee status and benefits, as they’re required to do under the state’s new labour law. (The New York Times)

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Talking point: The model is similar to Amazon’s arrangement with delivery service partners (DSPs)—third-party companies the firm contracts to deliver its packages. The franchise-style approach puts the onus on the delivery partners—or fleet operators, in Uber and Lyft’s cases—to classify workers in keeping with local laws. The model isn’t infallible, however. Amazon has faced legal challenges over how it classifies and treats contracted drivers. In an ongoing labour dispute in Toronto, for example, drivers argue that Amazon—and not the DSPs—predominantly dictates how and when they work and is therefore their true employer.

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The Fortnite developer has asked a California court for a temporary restraining order against Apple, barring the iPhone maker from following through on a threat to pull Epic’s developer accounts from its App Store and, as it tweeted, “cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools.” (The Logic)

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Talking point: Epic filed another suit last week claiming Apple imposed “unreasonable and unlawful restraints” on it and other producers that are forced to use the App Store to access Apple’s mobile-device users. The company is also suing Google on similar antitrust grounds. Apple levelled up by imposing additional bans on the firm’s developer accounts, which Epic said will result in “irreparable harm” to its business. The legal battle comes on the heels of a landmark antitrust hearing before the U.S. Congress, wherein Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned on the firm’s App Store commission, which is as high as 30 per cent.

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The antitrust regulator’s civil probe is focused on how the e-commerce giant’s policies affect vendor pricing, whether merchants can succeed on the marketplace without using its fulfillment service, and whether the platform influences shoppers to buy directly from it instead of businesses listing there. “We are cooperating with the Competition Bureau’s review and continue to work hard to support small and medium sized businesses who sell in our Canadian store—and help them grow,” said Kristin Gable, senior manager of corporate communications for Canada at Amazon. (The Logic) 

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Talking point: The investigation is at an early stage—Friday’s announcement called for third-party sellers to report their experiences with Amazon—and “there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time,” the agency said. An abuse of dominance finding can result in an order to stop the practices in question, and a fine of up to $10 million. In July 2019, the European Commission launched a similar inquiry into Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers, and as of two months ago was reportedly preparing charges, accusing the company of using data from vendors to compete with them, including by launching private-label alternatives to their products. Meanwhile, a California court ruled Thursday that the platform can be held liable for damage from items other merchants sell through it.

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On Thursday, a California judge denied Uber and Lyft requests for more time to appeal his decision ordering them to classify drivers as employees beyond the August 20 deadline.It followed a preliminary injunction request by San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin “seeking an immediate end to DoorDash’s illegal behavior of failing to provide delivery workers with basic workplace protections.” The food-delivery company said the move was ill-timed: “In the midst of one of the deepest economic recessions in our nation’s history, today’s action … threatens billions of dollars in earnings for California Dashers and revenue for restaurants that rely upon sales from delivery to keep their businesses open.” (BNN Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle)

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Talking point: Gig-economy companies are facing mounting pressure from California courts to shift to employing workers full time. Both Uber and Lyft have said that if a higher court doesn’t overturn or further pause the ruling, they’ll suspend their services in the state until the November election, when voters could potentially exempt them by passing a ballot measure to classify gig-economy workers, like delivery drivers, as contractors. Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates have spent more than US$110 million to support the measure in California. The companies face similar actions in Canada, where in June the Supreme Court ruled a $400-million proposed class-action suit on behalf of drivers can proceed.

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The decision came amid ongoing border tensions between India and China, which escalated earlier this summer on the disputed western Himalayan border. India’s Ministry of Communications is restarting the approvals process for New Delhi’s Bharti Airtel and Mumbai’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, as well as U.K.-based Vodafone. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: India invoked a national security clause to keep Huawei and ZTE out, following similar actions from the U.S., U.K. and Australia, which are concerned with the companies’ ties to the Chinese government. Barring the two likely means India’s 5G infrastructure will be delayed—and be as much as 35 per cent more expensive, according to analysts.

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In a statement Wednesday, the home-booking platform said it supports the OECD’s proposed update to the “almost century-old” global tax-law system. “We encourage governments around the world to strongly consider adopting the rules and avoid unilateral measures,” the company said. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The OECD is working on a global framework for taxing large companies in the countries where they generate sales, regardless of where they’re physically located. Airbnb’s statement follows similar endorsements from Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook. The tax would streamline what is becoming a piecemeal approach to taxing large companies’ digital sales. For Airbnb, which has had over 400 different tax agreements with governments since 2015, it could make tax policy and collection easier for hosts. The company has also resumed its IPO plans after pausing them amid pandemic-related uncertainty.