The app industry grew with $218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.
This week, there’s big news with the expansion of Android apps to Windows. Apple also came out swinging against sideloading and expanded its profitable Search Ads business to China…with more than a few caveats. Meanwhile, TikTok launched its own take on mini-apps after tests, making its videos more interactive.
Microsoft shocked observers this week at its Home windows 11 occasion with information that it’ll make Android apps out there on the subsequent model of its working system. The apps will run natively on Home windows 11 and might be downloaded from Amazon’s Appstore by the brand new Home windows Retailer included within the up to date OS. They’ll additionally be capable of being built-in into the Begin menu and pinned to the taskbar, and may have a tile or “window” as a part of the OS’s new utility placement person interface.
They’ll also be able to be integrated into the Start menu and pinned to the taskbar, and can tile or “window” as part of the OS’s new application placement user interface.
The Amazon partnership will bring increased attention to the Amazon Appstore, whose importance has somewhat fizzled over the years given the general lack of investment and its close ties to Amazon Fire devices, which are outsold by iPad.
App developers today tend to focus initially on the App Store and Google Play, not Amazon’s Appstore. However, bringing some 3 million Android apps to Windows users opens up a huge new potential market for Android. But could it actually make coding for “iOS first” less of a given for certain types of applications — like those that complement the productivity environment enabled by a Windows PC, perhaps?
In the near term, more consumers may begin to sideload the Amazon Appstore app on their Android devices for their paid app installs in order to gain access to the cross-platform support a Google Play version would not necessarily provide.
Microsoft noted during the event that it’s partnering with Intel to use its Intel Bridge technology to make this Appstore integration possible on x86 systems. However, the Intel-powered apps will also run on AMD and Arm processors, The Verge noted, though the technical details of how that will work were not immediately available.
Microsoft demonstrated how the app integration would work by showing off TikTok running in a vertical format on the new Windows OS during the event. This may not have been the best example, as TikTok has a fairly usable website for watching videos.
Meanwhile, the image of the Amazon Appstore in the Windows Store showed other apps including those from Ring, Uber, Yahoo, Khan Academy, Kindle, Game of War: Fire Age, My Talking Tom Friends, and more, which indicates this is a comprehensive rollout. Ahead of this news, Amazon announced it would soon lower its cut on app developer revenues from 30% to 20%, as part of a new program for small businesses. The program, which also includes promotional credits for AWS, could help boost developer support for the Appstore.
Plus, on the larger Windows Store, non-game developers can keep 100% of their revenue if they use their own payment platforms for in-app purchases. Apps and games using Microsoft’s payment platform split the revenue with the company at 85%/15% and 88%/12%, respectively. This sort of commission structure combined with the introduction of Android apps makes the Windows Store seem more developer-friendly than Apple’s App Store, which Microsoft likely hopes will keep it out of antitrust crosshairs.
Apple launches Search Ads in China
Apple this week brought its search advertising business to China five years after its U.S. debut. The system allows developers to bid on an advertising slot based on keywords users search for in the App Store. Though the move opens up a major new market for app developers, the system in China is fairly complex and comes with several caveats.Developers will need to upload documents, including business licenses and other files, that confirm their account has been approved before being able to run ads. Apple may then submit these documents to third-party databases and government entities for validation. According to Apple’s guidelines, the industry-specific licenses required exclude most foreign businesses from directly advertising in mainland China. Instead, they’ll need to work with local partners who will run ads on their behalf. The expansion for now only includes the Search Ads in the App Store and not the newly added Search Tab ads, where developers can bid on a slot directly on the Search tab in the App Store itself.