Apple’s dragging its feet in response to Anti-Trust Pressure; Bob Lawson, Optimove’s Director of Mobile offering, looks at what that actually means
Operators and mobile app developers love Apple’s App Store. Specifically, those who have a high percentage of their players on iPhones. They love the reach the stores give them to acquire new players.
Operators and mobile app developers dislike Apple’s App Store. They are tired of the hoops they need to jump through to get their app listed. Not to mention Apple’s 13,000-word “guidelines,” which include restrictions for types of apps they will accept, and where, AND the slice that the App Stores take on every dollar spent through the app, kicking a big hole in potential revenue operators can earn from their players.
It’s fair to say operators and mobile app developers alike have a love-hate relationship with the App Stores and Apple in particular.
Recently Apple has come under increasing pressure from Anti-Competition lobbyists to offer other ways for users to utilize their apps on iPhones. But a business with over 745 million software subscribers, grossing over $70bn in direct app revenue a year, isn’t going to give that up easily. Add to this their slowing revenue from hardware sales, and some commentators see Apple increasingly as a software company rather than a vendor of high-end devices. What are we to make of these somewhat conflicting messages? Consider the following:
- Apple is under pressure from antitrust regulators to show opportunities for companies that don’t, or can’t, have apps in the App Store. The ruling from their very public lawsuit with Epic Games in the US, and the EU ruling in favor of Spotify, also means that Apple needs to show tangible proof that the Apple ecosystem isn’t closed to competition.
- Apple is doing everything it can to hold onto its dominant position while appearing to listen to software makers’ concerns. They continue to make only minor tweaks to App Store terms in response to class actions and slowly introduce small, frequent changes. Those Changes make it very difficult for developers to stay on top of what would make Apple block their new app listing.
So how do the recent announcements at the June 22 WWDC event give us a clue to Apple’s response to pressures? First, it continues to show Apple’s strategy for the glacial pace of change.
- Apple has for years been reluctant, to say the least to allow applications other than approved apps on its store, accessing phone and browser functionality. Push notifications, for example, have been possible on Apple mobile apps since June 17, 2009. Just 11 months after it introduced the App Store in July 2008. They have always seen the Apple Push Notifications service (APNs) as a critical part of the iPhone experience.
And in the meantime, next door, Google has allowed much more extensive options for delivering notifications on Android devices. For example, since 2013, it has been possible to deliver notifications on an Android phone to users who don’t have the mobile app installed but have subscribed for notifications from a mobile responsive website or progressive web app (PWA).
But there’s a big difference here and it is that neither websites nor PWAs are downloaded from the Google Play Store, so they aren’t governed by the submission rules or delivering a revenue cut for the Play Store.
- Apple’s resistance to following Google’s lead could easily be seen as an attempt to restrict the popularity of Web-Based Applications over mobile apps published through its stores. After all, in the past it did follow Google’s lead when it first introduced notifications to mobile apps published through the Google Play Store.
- Apple argues that it’s about maximizing users’ customer experience, but increasingly it has been seen as anti-competitive. It’s strongly suspected that the recent announcement at WWDC 22 to introduce web push notifications to Apple devices is a way to demonstrate that they have no platform bias. They will soon introduce web notifications to browsers running on mobile devices, closing the gap between Mobile Apps and Web Apps.
- The technology has been available as a developer test build for months. At their developer conferences, Apple often announces features well into the future to get their community excited about what’s to come. Rarely do they announce something that will be available up to a year later. So why announce now, and why so far in advance?
- Antitrust pressure may have led to the announcement this year. And maybe, just maybe, by kicking the can down the road, the heat will come off. They have built it, but will they come? Only time will tell.
What does this mean for the industry?
Marketing automation tolls will relish the prospect of allowing more freedom around mobile devices. CRM Marketing Platforms have many customers who don’t, and won’t, have apps in the store for one reason or another. So being able to offer an experience that is on a par with that of a Native Mobile app is a compelling idea. The power of push notifications to re-engage with lapsed players and send reminders to Apple users, as has been possible with Android, is undoubtedly a good thing.
Is Apple ready to truly embrace customer experience across mobile and web applications? It’s anyone’s guess, well anyone not named Tim Cook, anyway. We’ll be watching this space closely over the coming months.
Bob Lawson is Director of Mobile Offerings at Optimove. He joined Optimove early in 2022, when it acquired Kumulos, the company he co-founded. Kumulos was a market-leading Mobile and Web Messaging Platform serving a broad range of industries. Bob has spent more than 18 years in technology, particularly Mobile MarTech. He has held commercially facing roles in start-ups, scale-ups, and large enterprise businesses, particularly in Mobile Technology. Before working in the Tech space, he spent 15 years in Financial Services, most recently as Marketing Director of one of Europe’s largest Fund Management Companies.
GoodLuckMate Publishes Insightful Report on Gambling Trends in Japan
GoodLuckMate has published a comprehensive Japanese gambling statistics and trends report on its website, revealing some interesting industry insights. The analysis was posted in October 2022 and includes a range of relevant data focused on the gambling market as well as gambling habits in Japan.
With this report, readers will get to learn more about the legality of gambling in Japan, the most popular games among Japanese players, and the demographics of gambling fans in the country. Some key figures include:
- Size of the online casino market in Japan – $6.7 billion
- Forecasted Japanese online casino market size by 2027 – $10.1 billion
- Sports betting market share – 40%
- Casinos market share – 30%
- Pachinko is the most popular game by market share
- Pachinko makes up about 4% of the country’s GDR
This report also reveals how Japanese consumers feel about online casinos and how popular they are among players of different age and sex groups. It also covers the issue of problem gambling in the country, highlighting that about 3.2 million Japanese players have a gambling addiction.
“We have launched a dedicated version of our website for our Japanese readers. We find the Japanese gambling market extremely intriguing, and that’s why we thought it was important to dive deeper into it through this report,” Nerijus Grenda, CEO of GoodLuckMate, said.
“Creating the report took a lot of research, but, in the end, it was worth it because it gives a complete picture of the Japanese gambling industry as it covers several essential aspects of it,” Grenda added.
Allwyn International Reports €958.6 Million in GGR for Third Quarter
Allwyn International has announced its preliminary unaudited financial results for the three and nine months ended 30 September 2022 and provided an update on recent developments and current trading.
Allwyn reported €958.6m ($994.3m) in gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Q3 2022, up 11% year-on-year. The company also reported adjusted EBITDA of €319.9m, up 10% from the prior-year period. Allwyn’s adjusted EBITDA margin is at 54% as of its Q3 report, 1% down year-on-year.
Continued strong growth in online sales online channel contributed 46% of gross gaming revenue in the Czech Republic, compared with 39% in Q3 2021.
The third quarter of 2022 also saw Allwyn’s stock price rise after it was formally awarded the Fourth UK National Lottery licence, starting in February 2024.
In Q4, the company reached an agreement to acquire Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, the current operator of the UK National Lottery.
Robert Chvatal, CEO of Allwyn, said: “This quarter has seen Allwyn deliver yet another set of strong financial results. We have also continued to deliver on our inorganic growth strategies, with some exciting developments in the UK in particular. Our consolidated Gross gaming revenue increased by 11% year-on-year in the third quarter and consolidated Adjusted EBITDA increased by 10%, driven entirely by organic factors – demonstrating once again the resilience of demand for our products and of our business model.
“We also continue to deliver strong margins and generate robust free cashflows, reflecting our favourable cost structure and focus on cost and capital efficiency. The third quarter and start of the fourth quarter have also seen two milestones in the UK, which is set to become the sixth market where we operate lotteries. In September, Allwyn was formally awarded the Fourth Licence to operate the UK National Lottery for a decade starting in February 2024, following the Gambling Commission’s earlier announcement that we were the Preferred Applicant, and on 19 November we announced that we had reached agreement to acquire Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, the current operator of the National Lottery.”
TAPPX CELEBRATES 9TH BIRTHDAY AND LAUNCHES TECHSOULOGY
Tappx, a leading global AdTech company, proudly announces the launch of Techsoulogy, a new corporate brand that unifies a broad portfolio of companies powering solutions for digital advertising, video content, mobile apps and video gaming across mobile, desktop, and CTV platforms.
The launch of Techsoulogy coincides with the 9th birthday of Tappx, which has grown rapidly since 2013 to reach 70 staff, and is forecast to surpass EUR 20 million of revenue this year. Tappx will now become part of the Techsoulogy brand while retaining its own name and unique position in the market. This is a major milestone in the company’s story, providing coherence of branding and messaging to a set of companies that have been launched or acquired by Tappx in recent years, with a total headcount approaching 100.
Alongside Tappx, Techsoulogy will be the corporate brand for four other companies focused on multiple complementary media and entertainment verticals including video generation and monetization, contextual advertising, and mobile game development. Each has been brought under the coherent messaging architecture and visual brand identity, with their own subtle twists. The Techsoulogy brand identity was defined with the help of Collaborabrands, and brought to life with words from Fernando Beltrán, visuals from Comuniza, and digital ecosystem development from Branng. Future brands entering the group will also be part of the consistent identity.
Daniel Reina, CEO at Techsoulogy and the founder of Tappx, commented:
“We believe this new brand architecture is an ideal model for our diverse companies, providing a common thread between them and creating a framework for us to keep growing and moving into new product categories. Tappx has been the engine behind this expansion, consistently growing in revenue and headcount even through challenging economic conditions, but it’s time for it to be part of something bigger.
“This includes not being afraid to talk about our vision for how technology and humanity will interact. How can we contribute human intelligence to artificial intelligence, and what qualifies us to have our say? As Tappx, we pioneered various initiatives to create a safer, more accessible, and more transparent digital environment at the expense of short-term profit: to help publishers adopt IAB standards; select only trustworthy, direct owned and operated traffic; and enable contextual advertising that improves user experience while protecting privacy. As Techsoulogy, we will do far more.”
Fernando Saiz Camarero, CMO at Techsoulogy, added:
“This has been an extensive project that began in mid-2021 when we asked our customers and partners what they value about us. We discovered that alongside our advanced technology, we’re best known for the quality of our people, ways of working, and culture. The team is our most powerful asset, and so we came up with the name Techsoulogy to encapsulate themes of technology, humanity and knowledge. As Techsoulogy, we will constantly explore, learn and improve to achieve more together than we ever could apart.”
Tappx recorded 97% revenue growth between 2020 and 2021 and is set to grow markedly again this year, with forecasts indicating revenue of at least EUR 20 million in 2022.
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