June 22, 2015 Last Updated 10:50 am

European ministers meet as Greece crisis nears end game; Apple backtracks on royalties

Morning Brief: iOS 8.4 still on track for June 30 release, with early reports saying that while eBooks built using iBA do work on the iPhone, there will be design issues to content with

The European finance ministers are gathering today in Brussels as the Greek debt crisis seems to be heading to a dramatic crescendo. It would be unfair to call it a conclusion, for even if a new deal is hammered out, Greece will be forced into a very uncomfortable financial situation for many years to come.


Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters

At issue is whether Greece can make its €1.6bn payment to the International Monetary Fund by month’s end. The tea leaves are hard to read as emotions seem to be variable. Yesterday creditors said they would extend the country’s bailout by six months and supply up to €18bn in funding. The conditions were that Greece must make concessions involving spending cuts and welfare reforms. One report said Greece had offered just such concessions, while another report said they were not enough for the finance ministers who often act like they attend these meetings sporting hangovers.

Today, the European Central Bank increased its emergency funding to Greek banks in effort to meet the demand of depositors looking to take their money out of the system for fear of a default.

As mentioned above, the big deadline appears to be June 30, and as today is only the 22nd there seems to be no reason to believe that negotiators will want this drama to end before the final curtain.

Meanwhile, though, European stock markets are surging, possibly in the belief that a deal must be near. Stocks could fall hard tomorrow if the ministers attending today’s meeting with such sour faces leave the meetings this evening with the same sour faces.

It was Apple’s plan to introduce its new Apple Music service, possibly on the same day the Greek crisis actually does reach its final hours, June 30. The plan is to introduce the service with a three month free trial. The catch was that during that free trail when Apple wasn’t getting any payment from users, Apple wouldn’t paid the artists whose music was being paid either.

I suppose Eddy Cue, in charge of Apple’s Internet services, thought this sounded fair, and it would be if the artists had agreed to this upfront. But they had’t, so when Taylor Swift publicly objected Cue backtracked and said the artists would get paid.

The sad this is to realize that if this wasn’t Apple involved in this no one probably would have complained. And if it wasn’t Taylor Swift complaining, but any other less popular artist, Apple probably wouldn’t have cared about the negative reaction.

Who knows, maybe the whole kurfuffle was part of the publicity campaign.

For eBook publishers still seeking a good solution to publishing to the iPhone, the end of the month can’t come quick enough. While Apple Music is the big change that will come with the release of an update to iOS 8 (the update will be labeled 8.4), the update will also come with changes to iBooks, being in books built using iBooks Author.

That big change was noticed in May and since there has not been much new to report. But late last week a new video was released showing how iBooks will work on the iPhone with iOS 8.4.

One thing to notice is that eBooks created with iBA will not fit correctly when in landscape due to the fact that the templates being used for creating an iBA eBook are designed to the iPad. This begs the question about whether iBA will be updated soon, too, introducing iPhone specific templates.

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