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Apple hires economists to claim its own apps aren’t the most popular in its App Store

Apple has come under fire from lawmakers and competitors who say its control over the App Store is anti-competitive.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple hit back Thursday against arguments that its controlling policies on the iPhone and iPad App Store hurt innovation and competition, releasing a report from economists it hired who said the tech giant’s apps and services such as Apple Maps, Apple Music and iMessage aren’t as popular as their peers.

In the US, for example, Apple’s Maps app accounted for 36% of usage and its iMessage accounted for less than half. In music streaming and video streaming, it is much lower, at 21% and 3%, respectively. The analysis group’s report relied primarily on data collected by, formerly known as App Annie, although Apple representatives said the company did not dispute its findings.

“For many countries and app types, the Apple app accounts for 20-30% of total app usage,” the Analysis Group study authors wrote, adding that Apple’s apps are “eclipsed” in popularity by third-party apps in almost every country. . “This reflects the fact that while Apple apps are widely used, third-party apps are used more frequently.”

Apple has hired economists from Analysis Group to publish reports on its App Store over the years, including one published in July 2020, just before a Capitol Hill hearing on the tech industry, which argued its commission rates from 15% to 30% for many in-app purchases were not anti-competitive.

The newly released research comes as Apple faces pressure from lawmakers, regulators and competitors around the world over how it manages and controls its iPhones and iPads, two of its most important products that together made up more than half of its $123.9 billion in revenue during the holiday season last year.

Apple hires economists to claim its own apps aren’t the most popular in its App Store

Economists hired by Apple have found that Apple’s Maps app isn’t the most popular, even though it comes pre-installed on iPhones and iPads.


Politically, the company is preparing to comply with a new set of rules in the European Union, known as the Digital Markets Act, which would require more interoperability between messaging applications, the ability for users to uninstall pre-installed software and apps, and better analytics data, among others. New rules governing the tech industry are still being finalized, but could force many powerful companies, including Apple and Google, to shake up the way they do business today.

“What we want is simple: fair markets also in digital,” EU Competition Commissioner Margethe Vestager said in a statement. last month when the rules were announced, which have not yet been approved by the EU’s governing bodies, including the European Parliament. “We are now taking a big step towards making it happen – that markets are fair, open and contestable.”

Meanwhile, other countries, including South Korea, passed laws forcing app store operators like Apple and Google to give developers more flexibility, something both companies have always resisted.

Apple hires economists to claim its own apps aren’t the most popular in its App Store

Apple’s iTunes was an industry titan before music streaming became the go-to way to listen to songs. Spotify is now on top.


Apple is also under considerable pressure in the United States, where it must face potential new antitrust laws and regulatory investigations. He’s also fighting a high-profile lawsuit from Epic Games, creator of the hit online title Fortnite, which is work their way through the appeals process.

Google, for its part, responded to the pressure by announcing a landmark deal with music streaming giant Spotify to loosen its grip on the Google Play App Store. Google said it would allow Spotify to collect payments for its service directly from customers, avoiding the typical 15% to 30% commission that Google charges many app developers. Google has suggested that other deals may be on the way.

Apple has also relaxed some rules. Last month, it began allowing “reader apps,” which connect to subscription services for music, books, movies and TV shows, to direct customers to their external website the App Store for payment. Until then, Apple didn’t allow such moves, something he was criticized by a U.S. District Judge Last year.


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