Welcome back to This Week in Apps, TechCrunch’s weekly series that summarizes the latest in mobile operating systems, mobile apps, and the general app economy.

The apps industry has never been more popular, with a record 218 billion downloads and $ 143 billion in global consumer spending in 2020.

Last year, consumers also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the US, app usage increased before time was spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live television a day, but now spends four hours a day on their mobile devices.

Apps are not only a way to spend idle hours, they are also big business. In 2019, companies that prioritize mobile devices had a combined valuation of $ 544 billion, 6.5 times higher than companies without a mobile approach. In 2020, investors invested $ 73 billion in capital in cell phone companies, a figure that’s up 27% year-on-year.

This week there was plenty of news about the app ecosystem that made headlines, including Google’s shocking decision to cut Play Store commissions, an App Store lawsuit for fraudulent apps with fake ratings, fights over app tracking transparency. . Apple and the arrival of a remarkable new one. feature on YouTube: a TikTok rival called Shorts.

Developer sues Apple for lost revenue due to App Store scams

Kosta Eleftheriou, co-founder of keyboard app Fleksy, has been raising awareness of App Store scams in recent weeks, after his own app was targeted by copycat subscription scammers using fake ratings and reviews to gain traction. This week, Eleftheriou filed a lawsuit to hold Apple accountable for lost revenue from its own app, saying Apple promises developers a safe and reliable marketplace, but then lets these scammers operate at the expense of legit apps like his. While some news articles positioned the case as some sort of antitrust lawsuit, it actually focuses more on scammers and Apple’s responsibility for how the App Store works, what apps are listed, and how well it is managed and monitored. Eleftheriou is asking Apple to compensate him for lost revenue and other damages as a result of Apple’s app market malfunction, as well as what he claims are unfair denials from App Review.

Google Play cuts commissions by up to 15% on some earnings

Google has followed Apple’s lead in cutting costs for the Google Play Store. But in your case, you’ve reduced commissions from 30% to 15% on the first $ 1 million in developer revenue. Apple, by comparison, starts charging 30% as soon as the developer crosses a million dollars. Google said 99% of developers who sell goods and services through the Play Store will see a 50% discount on the cost. According to data from App Annie, very few Google Play developers make more than $ 1 million; in fact, only 2,035 developers do that on Google Play, compared to 3,611 on iOS. To put this in perspective in terms of revenue, developers making up to $ 1 million in consumer spending accounted for just 5% of Google Play’s total consumer spending in 2020, the company noted.

Apple’s ATT wins in France

Apple circumvented an attempt by advertisers in France seeking to derail the IDFA change on iOS, which requires users’ consent to track it. The complaint had attempted to compare Apple’s third-party application tracking transparency (ATT) requirements to Apple’s, where the source applications can track by default to match advertisements in various Apple applications. The French competition regulator decided that Apple’s plans “do not appear to be abusive” and said it cannot intervene just because some apps could have a negative impact. But the authority said it will investigate Apple further to determine if any of the changes are “self-preference.”

YouTube launches rival TikTok in the US.

The short video experience, known as YouTube Shorts, was first launched in India, where TikTok has been banned, in September. Now it is coming to the US in its first major expansion. The feature, still in beta, offers an experience very similar to TikTok, both in terms of recording with

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