Bloomberg dropped an explosive-sounding report this week: Apple to Allow Outside App Stores in Overhaul Spurred by EU Laws (here's an alternative TechCrunch article, if you aren't a Bloomberg subscriber).

Most of the media is talking about this story like some sort of bombshell scoop, but it really shouldn't be a surprise — the bones of the the Digital Markets Act (the 'EU Laws' referenced here) have been an open secret for a while.

It's good to see progress on this, but I've said it before (more than once) and I'll say it again: this is the worst outcome for pretty much everyone involved. Yes, there are many issues with walled garden app stores, but there are also major benefits (no one really wants a return to the days of Windows 98, when an antivirus scanner was the only thing standing between your computer and total anarchy). The unwillingness shown by Apple and — to a somewhat lesser degree — Google towards engaging in any sort of thoughtful compromise is leading to 'product roadmap by regulation'. And since that is basically how we got into cookie consent banner hell with GDPR, I don't think anyone is going to be thrilled with the outcome this time either.

John Koetsier has a great piece on all the open questions around what this new, multi-store world would look like, but I think the key point is this: the primary driver here is pretty obviously a challenge to the 15-30% commission rate. And we already have a clear playbook — going back years — for how Apple and Google respond in these scenarios: they will give only the bare minimum in concessions necessary to comply with the literal letter of each new law.

These changes will be no different, which means we should expect them to come with UX requirements designed to make things as unappealing as possible…and some other way to collect an equivalent amount in fees. This is scorched earth, trench warfare, and the unfortunate thing is that it's just ultimately harming the broader mobile ecosystem.

PS, barring some unforeseen, apocalyptic event, this will be the final Mobile Growth News of 2022. Thanks for reading, for your thoughtful replies (I respond to all of them!), and for coming along for another year of mobile growth. Happy holidays, and see you all again in 2023!

Alex Bauer


How is the SKAdNetwork 4.0 rollout going? — part 2

Following up on last issue's recap of SKAN 4.0 support plans, we now have more details from the remaining two MMPs:

Go tell your ad network partners that support is important!

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