Inmates use British red phone boxes in Russian jail



Rich Russians indulge in fancy English-style homes with lawns, frequent pubs, go shopping in London – but now those behind bars are getting in on the act.

The Russian prison service Gufsin has posted photos of red British phone boxes and a mural of Big Ben – all the creations of Siberian prisoners.

The phone boxes are real – so that inmates can stay in touch with friends and relatives, Gufsin said.

Russian-UK relations are distinctly chilly, but London’s allure goes far.

The inmates of penal colony No 8 in Novosibirsk region even upgraded the old-fashioned British phone boxes by installing phones with video links.

This Russian fantasy London appears blissfully remote from the shabby phone boxes seen in much of Britain today – boxes left obsolete by smart phones.

The Westminster mural is there “to convey to the maximum the atmosphere of London”, Gufsin said online.

One Russian with the Twitter handle “NolAmbitsiy” commented on the prison innovation: “Mum, where’s my Dad? … In London, son.”

The Gufsin spokesman Oleg Ogulya told local website ngs.ru that the colony No 8 inmates have a reputation for arts and crafts. They have previously made small fountains and models of planes, rockets and industrial robots which are on display next to public buildings.

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A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying — and Retaining — Top Employees


The rise of digital collaboration platforms and new methods for harvesting data, along with new technologies and novel approaches for finding and managing talent, are redefining how companies will build their workforces going forward. Remote work has increased the sheer volume of digital communications and work product generated by employees, propelled by the mass adoption of collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack. This type of employee data represents the keys to the human side of the corporate kingdom, and from it, practically every aspect of performance can be analyzed using technology available today, revamping talent acquisition and management. The possible use cases are limited only by the imagination.

The so-called “war for talent,” bandied about in the media since it was coined by McKinsey & Company in 1997, is taking on a whole new meaning post-Covid. The competition to find and retain talent has only been exacerbated as workplaces have moved to virtual and hybrid configurations, held tenuously together by remote collaboration. The expansion beyond brick-and-mortar operations essentially nullifies many former practices for identifying and nurturing talent, and “management by walking around” just doesn’t work anymore.

At the same time, mountains of new data are suddenly available to help companies answer key questions about their workforce and its needs. The rise of digital collaboration platforms and new methods for harvesting data, along with new technologies and novel approaches for finding and managing talent, are redefining how companies will build their workforces going forward.

As an information management company with expertise in big data, we often find ourselves implementing new approaches to identify talent for more innovative organizations. And as a CEO in constant search for talent, I’ve seen firsthand how data can elevate a company’s hiring practices beyond the typical “intuition-based approach” to an evidence-based decision using meaningful but easy-to-miss indicators. In the spirit of illuminating the path ahead, I’ve compiled some of our key insights into this new paradigm.

Before Looking Elsewhere, Search Within

While “building” rather than “buying” is not a new concept in talent acquisition, the inherent difficulty lies in scouring the current ranks of your workforce to find the best fit for the new position. Internal hires, on average, receive higher performance reviews and cost less than their external counterparts, but 60% of hiring managers suggest internal recruiting could be improved by better identifying skills in existing employees. Thankfully, two digital trends have coalesced in the past year to make the task of identifying internal talent much easier.


First, remote work has increased the sheer volume of digital communications and work product generated by employees, propelled by the mass adoption of collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack. Second, since organizations are usually obliged to manage this “unstructured data” for litigation, compliance, records-keeping, and privacy, some have taken the next step of leveraging it to glean insights, or “people analytics.” Employee data represents the keys to the human side of the corporate kingdom, and from it, practically every aspect of performance can be analyzed using technology available today.

Remember That Technology Is Your Friend

The utility of people analytics has only recently surfaced, but organizations have already started analyzing email and other messages to drive better internal hiring and promotion decisions. For example, high-performing employees often leave electronic communication trails that cross departmental boundaries and place them in the center of informal networks — which can be identified through people analytics. Similarly, subject-matter experts can typically be found through lexical analyses and by examining criteria such as who gets asked the most questions by other employees. Organizations that harness these insights can significantly reduce the level of difficulty involved in finding internal talent and matching them with promotion opportunities.

Organizations abound with both new unfilled positions and old positions that may have lost significance in a virtual environment. Consider the field sales rep whose skill set has become underutilized or the department tasked with managing on-premises technology and infrastructure that’s are being displaced by cloud adoption. By looking at changes in communication volume, direction, and sentiment, organizations can identify employees whose roles have been most affected. A program for repositioning and promoting proven employees to higher-impact roles can enhance corporate agility and should be a required first step when seeking — and redefining — talent.

Modify the Corporate Organizational Puzzle

Beyond performance assessment, fundamental questions can now be addressed through people analytics. The flow of communication can tell us a lot about how an organization truly operates, but it’s often obscured by a rigid and outdated org chart. But by looking at the whole puzzle, companies can start to understand the pieces they have, the pieces they need, and how they fit together. What informal networks are at play that contribute to individual, departmental, and company-wide performance? How can the company identify and nurture the “movers and shakers” and ensure they are not overlooked, or worse, inadvertently lost? This type of human resource analysis can have an impact on corporate performance that is significant and immediate.

The scope of talent acquisition can also be redefined by technology through preserving corporate knowledge and memory. For example, the ability to analyze “Who knows what?” can alleviate the constant loss of institutional knowledge through the departure of key employees, including retiring baby boomers. To cite one instance, a dated software application running at a bank started acting up, and a quick data scan identified the expert who had recently retired. It was a simple matter of offering him a contract to address the problem.

The possible use cases are limited only by the imagination. For example, HR’s sales recruiting policies can change drastically when management is able to track and analyze the quality and quantity of activity of new salespeople, thus predicting the probability of success or failure within a mere month or two. Put simply, the risks and costs of hiring errors are dramatically reduced when a company can gauge performance quickly and confidently.

One cautionary note: Employee privacy should always be top of mind. While technology can pose both opportunity and challenge, it’s worth pointing out that strong control of data technology can be used to dial the degree of privacy toward one’s comfort zone.

The (Virtual) Road Ahead in Talent Management

Technology is revamping talent acquisition and management. We should be aware of the ramifications and embrace or brace for the impact. On the plus side, there is a new transparency in human dynamics which can enable the next level of management, especially in our new Covid-impacted virtual environments, where technology now spins the invisible web that holds the human network together. Other benefits include the hope that analytics will be more neutrally balanced toward workforce equity and diversity than many of the subjective methods used today. On a more cautionary side, it’s important to keep in mind that the power of such technology can be easily abused without diligent oversight.

Solutions are actively being devised for many areas of HR talent management still stuck in the shadows. Technology can be the candle, but you do need to strike the match to illuminate your options — and kindle the glow that nurtures your talent pool.

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Disney, DoorDash, Snowflake, Fisker & more


Take a look at some of the biggest movers in the premarket:

Walt Disney (DIS) – Disney shares dropped 3.9% in premarket trading after growth figures for the Disney+ streaming service fell short of Wall Street predictions. Disney reported better-than-expected profit for the first quarter, but revenue was short of analysts’ forecasts.

DoorDash (DASH) – DoorDash surged 8.2% in the premarket after first-quarter revenue came in above analysts’ forecasts, and the food delivery service raised its annual forecast for order value. First-quarter results got a boost from stimulus checks, although the company said those same checks were responsible for drivers working fewer hours.

Snowflake (SNOW) – The cloud computing company was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs, which notes the Snowflake’s strong competitive position, as well as a drop from recent highs that is much larger than its peers have experienced. Snowflake jumped 5.7% in premarket trading.

Airbnb (ABNB) – Airbnb posted a first-quarter loss, but it also reported better-than-expected revenue as well a 52% jump in gross bookings as more Americans received Covid-19 vaccinations and travel restrictions eased.

Coinbase (COIN) – Coinbase reported record profit during the first quarter, as the cryptocurrency exchange benefited from a significant rally in bitcoin and other digital currencies. Coinbase shares rose 2.3% in premarket action.

Kansas City Southern (KSU) – The U.S.-based rail operator accepted Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) $33.6 billion takeover bid, casting aside the $29 billion deal it had previously agreed to with Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). Canadian Pacific has five business days to make a counter-offer for Kansas City Southern. Canadian National added 2.9% in premarket trading, while Canadian Pacific rose 1.6%.

Tyson Foods (TSN) – The beef and poultry producer sold its pet treats business to General Mills (GIS) for $1.2 billion. The sale includes the Nudges, Top Chews and True Chews brands as well as an Iowa production facility.

General Electric (GE) – Citi reinstated coverage of GE with a “buy” rating, based on a “sum of the parts” valuation and better execution across GE’s portfolio of businesses. GE shares added 1.1% in premarket trading.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB) – Aurora Cannabis tumbled 8.7% in premarket action after it reported lower-than-expected fiscal third-quarter revenue, hit by pandemic-related restrictions in Canada. Separately, the cannabis producer announced a move in its U.S. stock listing to Nasdaq from the New York Stock Exchange, citing lower costs.

Fisker (FSR) – Fisker soared 14.5% in premarket trading after the electric car maker signed a deal with contract manufacturer Foxconn to co-develop electric vehicles. Plans include opening a new U.S. manufacturing plant in 2023, although a location has not yet been finalized.

Poly (PLT) – Poly tumbled 19.5% in the premarket after the maker of audio and video products issued a weaker than expected outlook. The company formerly known as Plantronics said it expected the global semiconductor shortage to negatively impact its supply chain. It did, however, report better-than-expected profit and revenue for its latest quarter.

Unity Software (U) – The 3D content creation platform company rose 3.2% in the premarket after Oppenheimer upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “perform.” Oppenheimer said the current price is an attractive entry point given Unity’s growth prospects.

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Iran has enriched uranium to up to 63% purity, IAEA says


FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

May 11, 2021

By Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters) -“Fluctuations” at Iran’s Natanz plant pushed the purity to which it enriched uranium to 63%, higher than the announced 60% that complicated talks to revive its nuclear deal with world powers, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday.

Iran made the shift to 60%, a big step towards nuclear weapons-grade from the 20% previously achieved, last month in response to an explosion and power cut at Natanz that Tehran has blamed on Israel and appears to have damaged its enrichment output at a larger, underground facility there.

Iran’s move rattled the current indirect talks with the United States to agree conditions for both sides to return fully to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was undermined when Washington abandoned it in 2018, prompting Tehran to violate its terms.

The deal says Iran cannot enrich beyond 3.67% fissile purity, far from the 90% of weapons-grade. Iran has long denied any intention to develop nuclear weapons.

“According to Iran, fluctuations of the enrichment levels… were experienced,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in the confidential report to its member states, seen by Reuters.

“The agency’s analysis of the ES (environmental samples) taken on 22 April 2021 shows an enrichment level of up to 63% U-235, which is consistent with the fluctuations of the enrichment levels (described by Iran),” it added, without saying why the fluctuations had occurred.

A previous IAEA report last month said Iran was using one cascade, or cluster, of advanced IR-6 centrifuge machines to enrich to up to 60% and feeding the tails, or depleted uranium, from that process into a cascade of IR-4 machines to enrich to up to 20%.

Tuesday’s report said the Islamic Republic was now feeding the tails from the IR-4 cascade into a cascade of 27 IR-5 and 30 IR-6s centrifuges to refine uranium to up to 5%.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Israel intensifies attacks in Gaza as conflict enters fifth day


The Israeli military has intensified its assault on Gaza, as Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets into Israel on the fifth day of hostilities.

Israel’s army said air and ground forces were involved in attacks on Friday but had not entered Gaza.

A BBC reporter in Gaza said there was heavy shelling involving gunboats, fighter jets and helicopters.

More than 100 people have been killed in Gaza and seven in Israel since fighting began on Monday.

Meanwhile, Jewish and Israeli-Arab mobs have been fighting within Israel, prompting its president to warn of civil war.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered a “massive reinforcement” of security forces to suppress the internal unrest that has seen more than 400 people arrested.

Police say Israeli Arabs have been responsible for most of the trouble and reject the accusation that they are standing by while gangs of Jewish youths target Arab homes.

In Gaza, Palestinians fearing an incursion by Israeli troops have been fleeing areas close to the border with Israel. The Israeli military said it had conducted an operation overnight to destroy a network of Hamas tunnels, but no troops had entered Gaza.

Meanwhile Hamas fired three more volleys amounting to about 55 rockets in total into Israel on Thursday evening. An 87-year-old woman died after falling on her way to a bomb shelter near Ashdod in southern Israel. Other areas including Ashkelon, Beersheba and Yavne were also targeted.

In a statement released early on Friday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli military operation against Palestinian militants in Gaza would continue for as long as necessary. He said Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, would pay a heavy price.

A Hamas military spokesman said the group was ready to teach Israel’s military “harsh lessons” should it decide to go ahead with a ground incursion.

This week’s violence in Gaza and Israel is the worst since 2014. It was initially fuelled by weeks of Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem which led to clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. This spiralled into an incessant exchange of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes.

On Thursday, Israel’s military called up 7,000 army reservists and deployed troops and tanks near its border with Gaza. It said a ground offensive into Gaza was one option being considered but a decision had yet to be made.

As fighting entered its fifth day, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel”.

His plea echoed that of other diplomats – including from Israel’s ally the US – but appeals to Israeli and Palestinian leaders have so far failed to produce a ceasefire agreement.

A senior Hamas official has said the group is ready for a “reciprocal” ceasefire if the international community pressures Israel to “suppress military actions” at the disputed al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.



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Jeff Bezos and the secretive world of superyachts


The highly secretive superyacht project, known as Y721, is due to be completed sometime next month, according to Bloomberg. It’s likely that Bezos’ order was placed several years ago, since custom-made ships like this can take around five years to build.

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21 fun and meaningful graduation gifts for high school and college gra



With distance learning and missed milestones, your senior’s final semesters may have been tough ones. Whether you’re hoping to prep them for the “real world,” splurge on useful tech, or get them an heirloom to remember, we’ve gathered the best graduation gifts for college and high school students throwing their (virtual) caps in the air. This has been a school year like no other, so congratulate your new grad with an extraordinary gift. 



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Nine killed, many wounded in Russian school shooting


Deadly school shooting in Kazan
Law enforcement officers stand next to the entrance of School Number 175 after a deadly shooting in Kazan, Russia May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Artem Dergunov

May 11, 2021

By Andrew Osborn, Tom Balmforth and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Nine people, including seven children, were killed on Tuesday and many more badly wounded after a lone teenage gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, local authorities said, prompting a Kremlin call for tighter gun controls.

Two children could be seen leaping from the third floor of the four-storey School Number 175 to escape as gunshots rang out, in a video filmed by an onlooker that was circulated by Russia’s RIA news agency.

“We heard the sounds of explosions at the beginning of the second lesson. All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting was on the third floor,” said one teacher, quoted by Tatar Inform, a local media outlet.

Calling the attack a tragedy for the country, Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the wider Tatarstan region, said there was no evidence that anyone else had been involved.

“We have lost seven children – four boys and three girls. We also lost a teacher. And we lost one more female staff worker,” he said in a video address.

“The terrorist has been arrested. He’s a 19-year-old who was officially registered as a gun owner,” he said. He said the victims were in the eighth year of school, which in Russia would make them around 14 or 15 years old.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates major crimes, said in a statement it had opened a criminal case into the shooting and that the identity of the detained attacker had been established.

Reuters could not immediately contact a lawyer for the suspect, who was named in Russian media but whose identity was not officially disclosed, standard practice in Russia until a suspect has been formally charged.

Footage posted on social media showed a young man being pinned to the ground outside the school by police officers.

State TV later broadcast a separate video showing what it said was the suspect, a young man stripped to the waist and under restraint, being questioned by investigators. He could be heard saying that “a monster” had awoken in him, that he had realised that he was a god, and had begun to hate everyone.

The incident was Russia’s deadliest school shooting since 2018 when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.

PUTIN ORDERS REVIEW OF GUN LAWS

A social media account called “God”, which Russian media said belonged to the suspect, was blocked by the Telegram messaging service citing its rules prohibiting what it described as “calls to violence”.

The account, created before the shooting, contained posts in which a young masked and bespectacled man described himself as a god and said he planned to kill a “huge number” of people and himself. Reuters could not independently confirm whether the account belonged to the detained suspect.

Minnikhanov, the regional leader, said 18 children were in hospital with a range of injuries, including gunshot wounds and broken and fractured bones. Three adults with gunshot wounds were also in hospital, he said, saying doctors were doing all they could to save the lives of those wounded.

Footage showed a corridor inside the school strewn with debris, including smashed glass and broken doors. Another still image showed a body on the floor of a blood-stained classroom.

Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defence or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the head of the national guard to draw up tighter gun regulations, the Kremlin said. The guards would urgently look into the status of weapons that can be registered for hunting in Russia but are considered assault weapons elsewhere.

The suspect had been issued a permit for a Hatsan Escort PS shotgun on April 28, Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, wrote on social media. He gave no further details and Reuters was not able to confirm this independently.

Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow.

(Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov, Dmitry Antonov, Polina Devitt and Maria VasilyevaWriting by Andrew Osborn and Tom BalmforthEditing by John Stonestreet and Peter Graff)

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Pierre-Charles Boudot: Top French jockey under investigation for rape



A French champion jockey has been placed under formal investigation for rape.

Pierre-Charles Boudot, 28, is accused of assaulting a woman at a party in February. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Boudot, who won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2019, has been released on €50,000 (£43,000; $60,000) bail.

Another jockey, Pierre Bazire, is also being investigated for failing to report a crime. Mr Bazire does not appear to have publicly commented.

The governing body of the sport in France, France Galop, said that while both men were presumed innocent, it had decided to suspend them for two days due to the seriousness of the charges, pending a further hearing.

Mr Boudot, who has been France’s top jockey three times, won Europe’s richest race – the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – in 2019 on Waldgeist when the pair denied Enable, ridden by Frankie Dettori, a record third win in the race.

The suspension meant that the French jockey missed the ride on 2020 Arc runner-up In Swoop at Paris Longchamp racecourse in Paris on Thursday.

The formal investigation was announced by prosecutors in Senlis, in northern France, on Wednesday.

The complainant’s lawyer Justine Devred told AFP news agency that the alleged assault took place at a party on 17 February.

“It’s highly likely she was made to drink or administered substances to make her incapable of consent,” she said. “She has flashes, long periods, moments when her body was no longer responding.”

Mr Boudot’s lawyer, however, told AFP that her client “categorically” denied the accusation, and said that the encounter had been consensual.

Mr Boudot has also been named as a witness in another rape investigation dating back to 2015. He has maintained his innocence in the case, in which the woman also alleged she was drugged before being raped.

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As Epic nears conclusion of case, Apple pushes back at experts


Epic Games Inc. is wrapping up its antitrust case against Apple Inc. much as it started: Fending off a relentless assault by Apple lawyers and experts challenging the premise of its historic lawsuit.

If this is beginning to sound like an echo, it’s because Apple
AAPL,
+1.29%
has used its considerable resources inside the courtroom and out to make its point clear: Epic’s market definition, which centers on Apple’s App Store, “is too narrow because it focuses on the one platform and consumers can transact on other platforms,” Francine LaFontaine, an economics professor at University of Michigan and Apple witness, said.

If the first eight days of the bench trial has proved anything, it is the difficult path Epic faces in convincing federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that Apple engaged in price-gouging monopolistic behavior. An Apple legal representative deemed Epic’s case a PR strategy in search of a legal theory — part of a pattern of Apple’s willingness to throw sharp elbows.

The tenor of Apple’s expert-witness testimony — precise, relentless, and unwavering — underscored what has been a comprehensive, no-holds-barred defense of the App Store, on which much of Apple’s business hinges.

In addition to a roster of experts who thoroughly pushed back at Epic’s experts, Apple requested the court expunge the testimony of Lori Wright, Microsoft’s vice president of business development, on the premise that Microsoft didn’t turn over documents Apple needed to properly question her. Epic and Microsoft have until Monday to respond.

Consider Wednesday’s court proceedings. Susan Athey, an economics professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Epic’s final witness, was repeatedly pressed by Apple attorney Karen Dunn about her work for Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
+1.24%,
gaming technology jargon, and Athey’s methodology in depicting Apple’s App Store as an monopoly.

“What Epic is asking for in this case is for Apple to make its products interoperable,” Dunn said.

Athey and Epic’s previous witness, David Evans, chairman of Global Economics Group, have dominated the week trying to establish that Apple’s iOS platform constitutes a monopolistic market that harms consumers with higher prices and boxes out competing gaming developers. Evans calculated that nearly 80% profit margins contributed to a multibillion-dollar App Store business that had a market to itself.

“Apple has substantial market power” in smartphone operating systems, Evans said Monday. It and Google’s Android, he concluded, are a duopoly that have controlled 100% of the smartphone OS since 2013. Globally, excluding China, the split is 60%-40% Android; in the U.S., it’s about even, he said.

Read more: Epic takes aim at Apple’s financial advantage in App Store model

Like Athey, Evans faced withering questions from Apple’s legal counsel, who questioned his research, definition of market dominance, and thin history of testifying in antitrust cases. Indeed, Evans — who is Epic’s lead expert witness and is scheduled to take the stand again — has been the focus of a concerted push-back campaign by Apple.

More important, Athey’s testimony is where the battle of the dueling expert witness segment of the trial kicked in. Her testimony was followed by Apple’s experts, as earlier agreed upon by the federal court in Oakland, Calif. MIT economics professor Richard Schmalensee, testifying on behalf of Apple, argued Wednesday that Evans’ analysis is wrong. “There really isn’t a market there,” Schmalensee said. “The Apple iOS has never been licensed separately from devices.”

“Apple’s iOS business is clearly a platform linking consumers and developers,” Schmalensee said. “The iOS is at the core of that platform. It links apps to those devices.”

(Ironically, Schmalensee collaborated closely with Evans on three books, half a dozen articles, and amicus briefs that included one cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the American Express case. Epic’s arguments draw on major antitrust cases against American Express Co. AXP, Eastman Kodak Co. KODK, and Microsoft, but apply those precedents in new ways that have not been tested in U.S. courts, legal experts said.)

Schmalensee did acknowledge that Apple has been under antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and elsewhere for years. This prompted Gonzalez Rogers, to eventually drop a telling comment. “I have the [American Bar Association’s] Antitrust Law book up here and I’ve heard quite a bit of evidence throughout the trial regarding how big Apple is and how anticompetitive it is,” she said.

Another Apple expert, Loren Hitt, professor at University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School, pointed out that Apple has reduced the rate of the commission over time. While the general commission remains 30%, subscriptions, video subscriptions, and small businesses that earn less than $1 million pay 15%.

There are 78 million phone purchases every year, Hitt said, and Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
005930,
-1.88%,
LG , and Google
GOOGL,
+0.48%

GOOG,
+0.27%
create products designed to make it possible to easily switch between platforms.

The contours of expert testimony defining the reach and influence of the App Store elicited contrasting analogies. Francine LaFontaine, an economics professor at University of Michigan, compared the App Store to a supermarket, where shoppers buy many goods, while the Epic Game Store, she said, is more like a liquor store for specific purchases.

Schmalensee, conversely, said that because research costs for the App Store can’t be divorced from Apple’s hardware costs, the store is more like a cow (!). A farmer who raises cattle for meat and leather can’t allocate feed costs to just one product, because both benefit, he said.

Finally, Judge Gonzalez Rogers asked whether iOS is an “essential facility,” a vital system or technology that rivals can’t effectively compete without. The idea derives from railroads, Schmalensee said, where there might be only one bridge that several railroad lines need to use. “You had to have that bridge,” he said. “There was no alternative.”

Thursday’s court day, the ninth of the closely-watched trial, featured the testimony of Hitt, Michael Cragg, chairman at The Brattle Group, and Evans.

Epic may rest its case Friday, Epic counsel Katherine Forrest said late Wednesday.

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