Welcome to the apps this week, the weekly TechCrunch series that brings the latest recovery to mobile OS news, mobile apps and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion consumers spending worldwide in 2020. Last year, consumers also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using the app on Android devices alone. In addition, in the United States, the amount of app usage has increased before spending time watching live TV. Currently, Americans watch 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spend four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Applications are not a way to pass idle time – they are a big business. In 2019, the combined value of mobile-first companies was 544 billion, 6.5 times more than without mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies – a figure that is up 27% year-over-year. This week we are looking at the App Store Bill in Arizona, the trend of animating family photos and what is more for Twitter’s clubhouse competitors, among other things.
The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill this week (HB 2005) that could significantly affect Apple and Google’s grip on the App Store market. Unlike a similar system recently enacted by the North Dakota Senate, this new bill does not force app stores to provide developers with an alternative way to distribute their apps. Instead, it emphasizes giving developers the right to use third-party systems that can deduct 15% -20% from Apple and Google’s app sales, in-app purchases and subscriptions. Apple and Google lobbyists fought the bill even before it officially introduced by Arizona State Rep. Regina Cobb. Cobb says he has organized Apex’s biggest competitors, such as Epic Games, Match Group, Spotify and Tile, to fight Apple’s control – he approached a lobbyist representing Match Group and the App Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) application ecosystem.
The CAF also supported the North Dakota Bill, and assisting with legislation in other states, including Minnesota, Georgia and Hawaii. Some legislators may oppose the bill as a further federal issue, and there are concerns about how the state will be able to implement such a policy. The Arizona Bill still needs to pass legislation through the Senate (and could be vetoed by Governor Doug Ducey) to become law. If passed, it would make Arizona an attractive place to establish app business and lay the groundwork for similar legislation to pass in other states.