HomeTechnologyElon buys Twitter, new App Retailer guidelines, playing advertisements backlash • TechCrunch

Elon buys Twitter, new App Retailer guidelines, playing advertisements backlash • TechCrunch

Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch collection that recaps the newest in cellular OS information, cellular purposes and the general app financial system.

World app spending reached $65 billion within the first half of 2022, up solely barely from the $64.4 billion throughout the identical interval in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has slowed down. However total, the app financial system is continuous to develop, having produced a report variety of downloads and shopper spending throughout each the iOS and Google Play shops mixed in 2021, in accordance with the newest year-end experiences. World spending throughout iOS and Google Play final yr was $133 billion, and shoppers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

This Week in Apps gives a approach to sustain with this fast-moving business in a single place with the newest from the world of apps, together with information, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and far more.

Would you like This Week in Apps in your inbox each Saturday? Enroll right here: techcrunch.com/newsletters.

Musk buys Twitter

It’s official, Elon Musk now owns Twitter. In typical Musk vogue, the transition has been nothing however chaotic, with the deal closing simply forward of the deadline set by the Delaware Chancery Courtroom — the courtroom the place Musk was planning to attempt to exit the deal by claiming Twitter had misled him in regards to the variety of bots on the platform. (He was actually trying to get the value down, after all!) In any occasion, the Telsa and SpaceX exec now has a brand new toy and everyone seems to be ready to see what comes subsequent. Earlier, Musk had hinted at layoffs, then later retracted his statements, saying he wouldn’t fireplace 75% in spite of everything. Nonetheless, he did instantly filter out the C-suite, together with CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, Basic Counsel Sean Edgett and Head of Authorized, Belief and Security Vijaya Gadde — an indication that he’s planning to fill out Twitter’s prime ranks with execs who will do his personal bidding and never struggle for the Twitter of days previous.

Nonetheless, Musk’s discuss a Twitter that’s extra permissive of “free speech” doesn’t fairly align with his message to advertisers posted shortly after the deal’s shut: He promised entrepreneurs that Twitter can’t flip right into a “free-for-all hellscape.” That’s clearly a tacit acknowledgment on Musk’s half that advertisers don’t need to submit their content material subsequent to hate speech-filled tweets. And regardless of Musk’s plans to develop Twitter’s subscription enterprise, round 90% of Twitter’s income in the present day comes from promoting. Given what he needed to pay to personal Twitter, Musk in all probability doesn’t need to need to pay to maintain it working, too.

App Retailer Overview Tips now give Apple a reduce of NFTs, in-app promoting

App Store icon on iPhone screen

Picture Credit: TechCrunch

Together with the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple additionally launched new App Retailer Overview Tips. Among the many main adjustments had been two new guidelines designed to offer Apple a much bigger slice of the NFT market and Meta’s core promoting enterprise.

The corporate mentioned apps can be allowed to checklist, mint, switch and let customers view their very own NFTs, however clarified that proudly owning an NFT couldn’t be a shortcut to unlocking any extra options in an app. In different phrases, the possession of an NFT shouldn’t be a approach to route round Apple’s in-app purchases. As well as, Apple mentioned NFT apps can’t show exterior hyperlinks or different calls-to-action to buy NFTs — that may solely happen by means of Apple’s personal in-app purchases system, as nicely.

This modification is just not all that shocking. Because the web3 market grows, Apple wished to discover a approach to stake its declare on the income and transactions which can be occuring inside these new apps. Plus, it’s a greater shopper expertise for NFT market apps to not simply operate as a showcase for customers’ purchases, however as a spot the place customers can truly transact.

The opposite massive rule adjustment, nonetheless, is a little more startling. In a daring transfer, Apple primarily mentioned it deserves a reduce of Meta’s advertisements enterprise in addition to some other social app. The brand new rule round social media apps now states that purchases of “boosts” need to circulation by means of Apple’s in-app buy system.

This might impression any app that sells the flexibility to spice up a submit to a wider viewers, like Meta (Fb, Instagram), TikTok, Twitter, courting apps and others. Meta, after all, took vital challenge with this alteration, saying that Apple’s coverage undercuts others within the digital financial system after Apple had beforehand mentioned it wouldn’t take a share of developer advert income. Whereas Meta isn’t precisely a sympathetic participant right here, it’s regarding that Apple has determined it may now tax promoting inside iOS apps on the identical time it runs its personal increasing advertisements enterprise. That looks as if a transfer regulators might want to look into asap.

App Retailer playing advertisements backlash

Talking of Apple’s advertisements enterprise…The corporate’s App Retailer advertisements platform expanded this week to incorporate new advert slots like the primary In the present day tab and a “You May Additionally Like” part on the backside of particular person app listings. The slots can be found in all international locations as of October 25, besides China. The advertisements have a blue background and an “Advert” label to distinguish them from different listings.

Builders, nonetheless, had been instantly disturbed by the moment deluge of playing advertisements that appeared marketed alongside their very own, together with towards children’ purposes and, in not less than one case, a playing dependancy restoration app. This was a poor search for Apple. In spite of everything, the playing class itself is already controversial — many builders would fairly not share an app market with these typically predatory apps within the first place, a lot much less have them marketed alongside their very own.

Apple not less than moved rapidly to answer the backlash by “pausing” playing advertisements and some different classes on App Retailer product pages, however the firm didn’t say how lengthy this pause would final or what it deliberate to do in regards to the state of affairs in the long run.

Spotify accuses Apple of anti-competitive conduct, this time round audiobooks

Simply forward of its Q3 earnings, Spotify revealed a weblog submit that once more accused Apple of anti-competitive conduct with regard to its launch of audiobooks within the U.S. On an accompanying web site, Spotify famous that its app replace to incorporate the audiobook growth was rejected thrice with out “clear route” as to what wanted to be modified to come back into compliance. The location particulars Spotify’s criticisms of Apple’s platform, explaining how Apple requires audiobook purchases to make use of Apple’s personal in-app purchases — or, if promoting elsewhere, prevents Spotify from telling customers why, the place or learn how to make these purchases exterior of iOS.

As a result of Spotify desires to keep away from the 30% IAP fee, it doesn’t let customers purchase audiobooks in its app. As an alternative, customers choose the e book they need to buy and are emailed a hyperlink that factors to a web site the place they will full the transaction.

“The Audiobooks buy circulation that Apple’s guidelines pressure us to offer shoppers in the present day is way too difficult and complicated — complicated as a result of they modify the principles arbitrarily, making them unimaginable to interpret,” Spotify’s weblog submit said.

The corporate has often battled with Apple over its App Retailer insurance policies however is usually seen as an unsympathetic sufferer attributable to its measurement, revenues and its function in shifting the music business to streaming, which artists say doesn’t pay.

Platforms: Apple

Holding an iPhone 14 running iOS 16.

Picture Credit: TechCrunch

  • Apple launched iOS 16.1, iPadOS 16.1, macOS Ventura and watchOS 9.1. The up to date software program delivers new options like iCloud Shared Picture Library, Continuity Digicam, Stage Supervisor for the Mac and iPad, Reside Actions, Apple Health+ for iPhone and extra.
  • Apple expanded its App Retailer advertisements platform to incorporate the primary In the present day tab and a “You May Additionally Like” part on the backside of particular person app listings in all international locations on October 25, besides China. The advertisements have a blue background and an “Advert” label to distinguish them from different listings.
  • SKAdNetwork 4.0, which lets advertisers measure advertisements’ success, turned accessible in iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 this week.
  • Apple additionally launched the primary betas of macOS Ventura 13.1, iOS 16.2, and iPadOS 16.2 which included the brand new Freeform app, introduced at WWDC. The app is a whiteboard app that permits you to create sketches notes, recordsdata, paperwork and extra, which might be accessed throughout gadgets.
  • Apple reported its This fall earnings with iPhone income up 9.67% YoY to $42.63 billion, Mac up 25.4% to $11.51 billion, however iPad income down 13.06% to $7.17 billion. Wall Road was anticipating iPhone income of $43.21 billion, sending the inventory down in late buying and selling. Different merchandise had been $9.65 billion (up 9.95%) and the Providers division, which incorporates the App Retailer, was up 4.98%.

Platforms: Google

  • Google filed a short opposing Epic and Match’s latest movement to amend and increase their antitrust claims within the ongoing antitrust lawsuit towards the Android maker. In it, Google disputes that its incentive program for builders to publish to the Play Retailer would prohibit builders from creating competing app shops, as alleged. It additionally famous the movement from Epic and Match comes too late, after the December 3, 2021 modification deadline.
  • Google hosted its Android Developer Summit the place it introduced the first steady launch of Compose Materials 3, the library that permits builders to construct Jetpack Compose UIs with Materials Design 3.
  • The corporate additionally introduced updates throughout three important areas of Jetpack: structure libraries and steerage, utility efficiency and person interface libraries and steerage. It famous that 90% of the highest 1,000 apps use Android Jetpack.
  • Google launched a Gradle Invoice of Supplies (BOM) specifying the steady model of every Compose library. The primary BOM launch, Compose October 22, comprises Materials Design 3 parts, lazy staggered grids, variable fonts, pull to refresh, snapping in lazy lists, draw textual content in canvas, URL annotations in textual content, hyphenation and LookAheadLayout. And it launched the first alpha of Compose for Android TV.
  • Android Studio received updates, too, together with up to date templates for Put on OS. And Google launched a steady Android R emulator system picture for Put on OS.

E-commerce & Meals Supply

  • The FTC sanctioned Uber-owned Drizly, an alcohol supply service, and its CEO Jason Rellas for knowledge safety abuses that noticed the non-public info of the corporate’s 2.5 million prospects uncovered. Drizly should implement a safety program, destroy pointless knowledge, implement new safety controls and practice workers and cybersecurity.
  • Amazon started letting choose U.S. prospects pay with Venmo on its web site and in its cellular app, with plans to roll out the assist to all U.S. prospects by Black Friday.


  • Twitter started testing a blockchain-agnostic device that permits customers to show their NFTs in tweets in partnership with Dapper Labs, Magic Eden, Rarible and Leap.commerce. The function is just accessible to pick out customers right now.


  • PayPal added assist for Apple Passkeys on iOS, iPadOS and macOS, with extra platforms to come back. Passkeys are a brand new business normal created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Large Internet Consortium — in partnership with Apple, Google and Microsoft — which can be designed to switch passwords.


  • New evaluation signifies India’s homegrown TikTok clones, like Moj and Josh, haven’t been capable of replicate TikTok’s success within the nation following its ban, leaving Instagram and YouTube to take over the short-form video market domestically.
  • Meta added Reels to Fb Teams, noting that almost all Fb customers are members of not less than 15 energetic teams and that there are 100 million-plus group joins on daily basis.
  • Snap reported its slowest quarterly income progress ever within the third quarter. The social app maker missed analyst expectations with $1.13 billion in income, versus $1.14 billion anticipated, main the inventory to drop from $11 to $8 in late buying and selling on the day of the earnings announcement. DAUs, nonetheless, had been up 19% YoY (up 53 million) to 363 million in Q3. The corporate mentioned it additionally plans to shut its San Francisco workplace, which was solely frivolously used attributable to distant work insurance policies.
  • The Snapchat app rolled out Director Mode, a function providing TikTok-like instruments together with a inexperienced display screen, fast edit and digicam pace options, in addition to a BeReal-like twin digicam mode.
  • Pinterest reported its Q3 income was up 8% YoY to $684.6 million, above estimates of $666.7 million. Nonetheless, international MAUs remained flat YoY at 445 million, above estimates of 437.4 million. The inventory jumped 11% on the information.
  • Meta introduced its Q3 earnings with income down 4% YoY to $27.7 billion, internet earnings down 52% YoY to $4.4 billion, DAUs throughout its apps up 4% YoY to 2.93 billion. The inventory dropped 25% on the income decline as traders voiced issues about how a lot Meta is spending on its metaverse ambitions.


bumble billboard

Picture Credit: Bumble

  • Bumble open sourced its AI, Personal Detector, which the app makes use of to detect unsolicited nude pictures. (Get it?) The app offers the person the selection as as to if or to not open the picture when a probably lewd photograph is detected. Now different apps can entry the identical know-how.
  • Match-owned courting app Hinge will add a profile verification function in November that can ask customers to take a video selfie within the app as a part of a crackdown on scammers.


  • Telegram mentioned it plans to public sale usernames by way of the TON blockchain, a transfer impressed by an public sale for pockets usernames that noticed some promoting for as excessive as $200,000. Founder Pavel Durov prompt different parts of the Telegram ecosystem may turn out to be part of this market sooner or later, together with channels, stickers or emoji.
  • Apple’s communication platforms, iMessage and FaceTime, went down on Tuesday afternoon, following an earlier greater than two-hour outage from WhatsApp, making it a fairly unhealthy day for attempting to textual content and name.
  • WhatsApp now has 2+ billion DAUs, Meta introduced throughout its Q3 earnings.

Streaming & Leisure

Picture Credit: Apple

  • Apple raised costs for Apple Music, Apple TV+ and its Apple One bundle within the U.S. Apple TV+, which is getting its first value hike, will enhance by $2 month-to-month and $10 yearly. Subscribers can be charged $6.99 per thirty days or $69 per yr. Apple Music is getting a value enhance of $1 for particular person subscribers and $2 for households. The person plan will now be $10.99 per thirty days and the household plan can be $16.99 per thirty days. And the Apple One bundle will value $16.95/month, $22.95/month and $32.95/month, respectively, for the person plan, household plan and Premier plan.
  • YouTube is elevating the charges for its Premium Subscription for households throughout a number of international locations, together with the U.S., U.Ok., Canada and Argentina, efficient November 21. Within the U.S., the value goes up from $17.99 to $22.99. The plan permits as much as 5 members of the family to look at ad-free movies, obtain movies for offline entry and play movies within the background.
  • Deezer additionally bumped its month-to-month premium value to $10.99 within the U.S.
  • Given the rivals’ will increase, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek famous on the earnings name that the firm is contemplating a value hike as nicely. Spotify’s income in Q3 was up 21% YoY to €3.04 billion, MAUs had been up 20% YoY to 456 million, and Premium subscriptions had been up 13% YoY to 195 million. However Spotify’s inventory dropped 6% after earnings attributable to a miss on promoting progress.
  • YouTube’s cellular app on iOS and Android received a makeover that features a new look, exact looking for, new buttons, ambient mode, darker darkish mode and a “pinch to zoom” function to see extra particulars in a video. Later, the corporate rolled out an replace throughout platforms that separated long-form, Shorts and Reside movies into their very own tabs on channel pages.


  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned that greater than 20 million individuals have now streamed video games by means of Xbox Cloud Gaming, up from 10 million in April 2022. The gaming subscription service permits shoppers to stream video games to their telephone by way of an internet browser. This yr, Microsoft introduced the favored sport Fortnite to the platform.
  • TikTok is increasing additional into video games, in accordance with the FT, which mentioned the app would add a devoted gaming tab by November 2, which might function ad-supported cellular video games and in-app purchases.

Authorities & Coverage

  • The U.Ok.’s Monetary Conduct Authority mentioned it plans to analyze Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta’s strikes into retail monetary providers over competitors and shopper hurt issues, the FT reported.
  • Turkey’s competitors authority fined Meta 346.72 million lira ($18.6 million) for combining person knowledge throughout Fb, WhatsApp and Instagram.
  • India’s antitrust watchdog, the Competitors Fee of India, fined Google $113 million for abusing the dominant place of its Google Play Retailer. It ordered the corporate to let app builders use third-party funds for in-app purchases or for buying apps and to drop any anti-steering tips. Google has three months to conform.

Safety & Privateness

  • Sq. dad or mum firm Block was reported to be promoting entry to prospects’ electronic mail addresses used to obtain receipts. Whereas not unlawful, privateness specialists argue this implies of promoting advertising and marketing info is “strolling a high quality line,” per Protocol’s report.
  • Apple patched a bug in iOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura that might have allowed apps with Bluetooth entry to report customers’ conversations with Siri with out requiring microphone entry.
  • TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker provided an inside look into TheTruthSpy, the stalkerware operation that’s spying on 1000’s of individuals worldwide, together with within the U.S., by way of Android apps planted by somebody with bodily entry to an individual’s gadget. Leaked knowledge from the operation consists of name logs, texts, location knowledge and different private data.

💰Free banking app Crowded raised $6 million in seed funding led by Storage, with participation from Deel co-founder Philippe Bouaziz, Innoventure Companions’ Michael Marks and a bunch of former financial institution executives. The app targets member-based nonprofits, like fraternities, sororities and booster golf equipment.

💰Onward, an app designed to assist co-parents navigate and managed their shared bills, raised $9.7 million in Sequence A funding led by Atlanta-based TTV Capital.

💰Joro, an app that helps individuals monitor and cut back their carbon footprints, raised a $10 million Sequence A led by present traders Sequoia Capital and Amasia. Additionally taking part had been Norrsken, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers’ Incite, Jay-Z’s Arrive and Mike Einziger, the lead guitarist of Incubus.

Duolingo Math

Picture Credit: Duolingo

Language-learning firm Duolingo formally launched its math app to the general public this week, following beta trials. The app represents the primary growth past language studying and literacy for the corporate. The app permits customers to decide on between an elementary model that focuses on fundamental ideas like multiplication and division and an grownup model that’s extra optimized for “mind coaching” workouts that put abilities into observe. A future model might even increase into higher-level math, like linear algebra or college-level math. The app is remaining free to make use of in the meanwhile.

Pixel Friends

Apollo developer Christian Selig thought he’d have a bit enjoyable with the brand new iOS 16 function, Dynamic Island, so he added a function to his widespread Reddit consumer known as “Pixel Friends” that allow customers gather and take care of small, animated pets that run atop the black bar on the prime of the display screen. The function took off as individuals adopted their pixelated pets, fed them and performed with them to earn their love.

Taking a cue from customers’ curiosity, Selig launched a standalone app for Pixel Friends, which now permits pet homeowners to do extra with their animated pals, together with pinning them to the House Display screen as clear widgets, including them to the Lock Display screen as animated widgets and having fun with them by means of iOS 16’s Reside Actions, amongst different issues. If something, the app works to show iOS 16’s new options in a intelligent and entertaining manner. Customers appear to take pleasure in the brand new expertise, too — as Selig famous this week, the app hit the highest 3 within the Graphics & Design class on the App Retailer.


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