Policy

The Specter of Fragmentation is Back

Google’s compliance with the European Commission’s decision on the Android antitrust case risks increasing market fragmentation and costs for developers and consumers

 

Contact: Michela Palladino - michela@developersalliance.org

 

Brussels – App developers and publishers are an economic engine in Europe and globally. In support of the two million Europeans whose jobs and livelihoods are intertwined with the App Economy, the Developers Alliance is closely following today’s announcement regarding how Google will comply with the European Commission’s Android decision.

The Commission’s decision challenged clauses in Google’s Android licenses. As Bruce Gustafson – President and CEO of the Developers Alliance – explained in July, these clauses have led to an open and accessible platform, which “has strongly benefited developers and consumers over the years.  Thanks to market stability and reduced costs, developers have been able to focus on bringing new and innovative products to consumers.

The Alliance understands that Google plans to comply by altering contractual requirements in its partner agreements while seeking to maintain an open and attractive Android ecosystem.  As required by the decision, Google will allow its partner phone makers to develop phones in the EEA based on incompatible versions of Android while also selling similar handsets using compatible versions.  

Google’s compliance with the decision raises anew the specter of fragmentation. There is a risk that diverging versions of Android will lead to devices where apps don’t work for users. Developers may also need to do costly rewrites of apps for multiple incompatible versions. Google’s efforts to limit this sort of fragmentation have led to a better platform for users, developers, and phone makers.

The Developers Alliance hopes that clear labelling will help to reduce the potential for user confusion between compatible and incompatible Android devices.  

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The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 70,000 developers.

 

 

On-the-record quote: “There is a risk that diverging versions of Android will lead to devices where apps cost more to develop and may not work for all users. Google’s efforts to limit fragmentation have led to a better platform for users, developers, and phone makers. The Developers Alliance hopes that clear labelling helps to reduce the potential for user confusion between compatible and incompatible Android devices.” – Bruce Gustafson, President & CEO, Developers Alliance

 

Proposed ePrivacy Regulation to affect all European industries and cost more than €500 billion in reduced annual turnover

A report commissioned by the Developers Alliance and produced by London Economics shows that the proposed ePrivacy Regulation being discussed in Brussels is potentially costly, definitely confusing, and likely to reduce innovation and investment across the EU. The total costs could soar as high as €551.9 billion annually in reduced turnover, with an impact far beyond the technology sector. 

Developers Alliance Reacts to the Publication of the European Commission Proposal on Fairness in Platforms-to-Business Relations

Developers Alliance Press Release on the Publication of the European Commission Proposal for a Regulation on Promoting Fairness and Transparency for Business Users of Online Intermediation Services and Online Search Engines in the Digital Single Market

Developers Alliance reaction to the statements of Bruno Le Maire, France’s Economy Minister on the relationship between developers and app stores

Developers Alliance Director of European Policy and Government Relations, Michela Palladino, released the following reaction to the statements of Bruno Le Maire, France’s Economy Minister on the relationship between developers and app stores, such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Industry associations reiterate concerns about consequences of upcoming fairness in platform-to-business relations regulation

Today a group of industry representatives, including the Developers Alliance, sent a letter to the European Commission on the forthcoming initiative on fairness in platform-to-business relations.

Tech industry calls for more ambitious data flow provisions in EU trade agreements

Today the Developers Alliance and CCIA Europe sent a letter to the European Parliament on the European Commission's proposed "provisions on cross-border data flows and personal data protection in EU trade and investment agreements".

Developers Alliance joins other stakeholders calling for caution and urgent consideration on the tackling of illegal content

Today a group of industry and civil society representatives sent a letter urging the European Commission to uphold its promise to continue dialogues and exchanges with stakeholders on how best to tackle illegal content online.

Developers Alliance Letter to Members of the European Parliament on the ePrivacy Regulation

Contact: Michela Palladino - Michela@AppAlliance.org

Developers Alliance Letter to Members of the European Parliament on the ePrivacy Regulation

BRUSSELS - This morning, the Developers Alliance issued the following letter to relevant Members of the European Parliament:

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Dear Members of the European Parliament,

We write to you to share our concerns on the ongoing negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation.

We are concerned about the draft report, published and presented to the LIBE Committee last month, as we fear that it fails to recognize the importance of the data-driven ecosystem for the European digital economy and risks disrupting small businesses and software developers’ business models and market choices.

In particular, we wish to stress that:

●      The limitations to the processing of communication data and metadata foreseen in the report will hamper the app ecosystem, preventing the execution of basic communication services, functions and features, limiting innovation and jeopardising users’ safety and satisfaction online.

●      The processing and aggregation of communication data enables the development of basic products, such as spam-filtering and fraud detection software, and emerging tech like Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things as well as applied Artificial Intelligence, and also allows software developers to provide their customers with the best tailored products. This is all highly appreciated by consumers, it is critical for a meaningful online experience and absolutely essential to modern life.

●      The restrictions to the processing of data stored in the terminal equipment and the obligation of privacy by default settings will seriously undermine the ad-based business model that is key for software developers and their businesses to scale-up.[1]

Additionally, they will not be effective in giving more control to users. On the contrary, they will multiply the requests to users for consent in a way that will be seriously detrimental to users’ experience and will reduce trust in digital businesses and their services.

●      The ePrivacy Regulation re-opens the discussion around consent, tracking, profiling, transparency, and security standards that are already addressed by other legislation. The GDPR and the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS), combined with a revised Electronic Communications Code, already guarantee a more than sufficient level of privacy and data protection. Imposing an additional level of regulation is unnecessary and goes against the Commission’s Better Regulation agenda. 

For these reasons, we call on MEPs and other EU policy-makers to re-evaluate the content of the proposal in order to:

1.     Avoid further unnecessary constraints to the collection and processing of communication data and metadata;

2.     Re-think the proposed rules about the use of processing and storage capabilities of terminal equipment;

3.     Aim at creating full harmonisation of legal instruments regulating data management and data protection.

The European app sector is vibrant, successful and innovative. It empowers consumers, digitises businesses and impacts positively the European GDP and employment rate We urge MEPs to support digital innovation in Europe and create a workable environment, based on consumers’ trust in the communications services they use.

Yours sincerely,

Michela Palladino

Director, European Policy and Government Relations
Developers Alliance

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[1] 38% of worldwide developers base their business model on advertising, while only 21% are still profiting from downloads and 19% are looking for subscription revenue. On top of this, the trend of adopting a mixed business model is growing: in many cases, paid app business models are integrated with alternative ad-based models.

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The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 70,000 developers.

Statement from the Developers Alliance on the House Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Hearing on the TC Heartland Decision

Contact: Chris Grimm – cgrimm@appdevelopersalliance.org

Statement from the Developers Alliance on the House Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Hearing on the TC Heartland Decision

Washington, D.C.  – Below is a statement from the Developers Alliance Senior Advisor Bruce Gustafson regarding the House Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet hearing on the Supreme Court's TC Heartland decision. 

"No one feels the impact of patent trolls more than the small companies that are the heart of US innovation. With limited resources and narrow market windows, the start-ups in the developer community are particularly vulnerable to the extortion of trolls wielding dubious patents in a legal system with a cost of entry beyond a small firm's means. Start-ups are shuttered, jobs are lost, and dreams die over and over, despite the fact that everyone agrees the claims these trolls make are unsupportable.

While we welcome the latest venue guidance handed down by the Supreme Court, it remains to be seen how much this change will improve things for our developer members. The cost of defending a dubious claim, and the ease with which these claims can be made, still creates incentives for shakedown settlements. On behalf of developers and entrepreneurs across the country, we ask Congress to closely monitor the impact of this ruling and to continue to work on relieving the burden of nuisance litigation on small innovators.”

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The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 70,000 developers.