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Laws for app store developers the need of the hour: ADIF panel

Laws for app store developers the need of the hour: ADIF panel
25 Feb, 2022
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Experts on Apple and Google policies from the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) and the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) called for specific laws geared towards helping developers in India, especially in the context of building applications for Google and Apple play stores.

The panel discussion talked about the recent changes Google and Apple have made towards creating an advertisement based business model. 

Google, On February 17, announced that it is adopting new privacy restrictions which will potentially cut down tracking of data by apps across android devices, to replace third-party trackers, while Apple made some changes to give its users more control over their privacy, which upended the advertisement practises of several organisations who were heavily advertising on Apple platforms. 

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For example, the changes brought about by Apple caused Meta’s sales to drop by $10 billion. 

The panel discussion stressed on another aspect of the puzzle, the power imbalance between the app store owners and the developers. Google and Apple together have a market share of 99%. 

“In the Indian context, a lot of apps were being taken out of the store arbitrarily. Most of these incidents were happening in isolation, so it took us some time to understand that every app developer or app owner faced an instance where they faced being taken out of the store” said Sijo Kuruvilla, Executive Director at ADIF. 

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“Half the time there was no notice and the app was out of the app store,” added Kuruvilla.  

Mark Buse, SVP and head of Government relations at Match Group, added that Google and Apple were holding onto payments for more than 90 days, which limited the availability of funds for smaller developers. “This dampens innovation and depresses new apps from being built,” added Buse.  

Apple has already been fined heavily for their high-handedness, with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets declaring Apple’s app store policy as being anti-competitive. Apple has since paid the ACM 25 million euros.  

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“Apple might view it as a slap on the wrist, but ultimately, it is the customers who pay for their non-compliance,” pointed out Hannah Rickets, the Deputy Director of CAF.