The nearly 3 million games and apps available on Google Play and the 2 million apps in the Apple Store are a challenge for developers.
The App Store is Apple’s only distribution channel for iPhone and iPad apps. Apple and Google both charged 30% in commission fees until recently. Both companies have halved the cost for small businesses and independent app developers after lawsuits, such as Epic Games’ claim that Apple had an illegal market monopoly in 2020.
Epic Games has lost, but Apple’s App Store changes are now on hold. Apple and Epic Games are both appealing. Epic Games filed a similar lawsuit against Google that is scheduled to be tried in 2023. App stores have rules about privacy, security, and even the types of apps that can be created.
Third-party app stores may have different rules that are more flexible and allow developers to retain more money.
You have been Sherlocked
Google and Apple are often accused of “sherlocking” independent developers. The developer creates an app, and then the platform embeds its features into the operating system, killing the product.
It’s not as simple as you might think to make money by developing a mobile application. Shutterstock
FlickType is a third-party Apple Watch and iPhone keyboard. Apple reportedly told the developer shortly after that Apple Watch keyboards were not permitted. They then announced the feature.
A minimum viable product can cost between US$40,000 to US$300,000. Some apps can take much longer to develop.
A group of UK developers filed a collective action lawsuit for PS1.5 billion in 2021 against Apple regarding its store fees. The UK will hear the case.
The European Commission told Apple that it had abused its position and distorted the competition in streaming music. Its restrictions on app developers also prevent them from notifying users about cheaper alternative apps.
Spotify, for example, argues that it is unfair when Apple creates a music application. Apple, the company that runs the Apple Store, requires them to pay Apple 15% or 30% of their revenues. Up until recently, Apple prohibited Spotify from informing users of cheaper subscription options (such as by subscribing through the service’s website).
The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s report highlighted concerns about the tech giants creating barriers to competition and innovation. Apple’s monopoly on native app downloads for iOS devices is a key finding. Their full study will be released in June 2022. The UK government has promised to introduce new legislation “when Parliamentary time permits.”
Alternative app stores
By Spring 2023, the EU’s Digital Markets Act may be in effect. The legislation is intended to open up mobile platforms, allowing users to install apps from other stores. It also ensures app store providers do not favor their offerings over third-party developers’developer’s offerings.
A US Senate panel approved in February 2022 a bill that seeks to rein the app store.
The Play Store is available on almost every Android phone by default, meaning that the apps are accessible to a much larger number of users. The Play Store, however, is installed by default on most Android phones. This means that the apps on the Play Store can reach a larger audience.
Google (which reviews apps from developers before they are made available) and Apple (which examines the apps of developers before making them accessible) have both been heavily criticized for their lack of transparency, consistency, and general inequity. Independent developers do not have any real leverage over international billion-dollar corporations.
Google has been criticized because it fails to give meaningful clarification when it removes apps from its store.
Privacy of Users
Apple has expressed privacy and security concerns regarding the use of apps from other app stores.
The app store review process can be used to make sure that apps adhere to their privacy policies. The majority of users do not read these, but apps are already able to share and access a lot more information than users realize.
Third-party app stores will likely create a compromise between freedom and safety for users. Some users prefer Apple’s and Google’s privacy policies. Some users may choose an open environment, where they are able to install apps developed by smaller independent developers who do not have to go through the hoops of large app stores.
Evidence from lawsuits proves that Apple originally intended to support running applications outside of its app store. Apple may be forced to reconsider by the Digital Markets Act.
It is only when the DMA is implemented properly that it will deliver results to users and developers. It is set to become a regulator by the European Commission for the first time. It will take some time, however, and the European Commission will need to build a team that is large enough to provide meaningful enforcement and oversight.
This story was last updated on 9 June 2022. Apple’s app store now has 2 million apps instead of 4 million. The CMA’s interim reports were quoted. Changed the sentence: They must pay Apple, their competitor, who operates the store platform 15% or 30% of revenue.
To: They must pay Apple, the rival company that operates the Apple Store, 15% or 30% of the revenue they generate via this platform.