This Week in Apps: Android ad prices jump, TikTok resumes, Google Play’s antitrust lawsuit

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices […]

Google faces a major multi-state antitrust lawsuit over Google Play fees

A group of 37 attorneys general filed a second major multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Google Wednesday, accusing the company of abusing its market power to stifle competitors and forcing consumers into in-app payments that grant the company a hefty cut. New York Attorney General Letitia James is co-leading the suit alongside the Tennessee, North Carolina […]

Opioid addiction treatment apps found sharing sensitive data with third parties

Several widely used opioid treatment recovery apps are accessing and sharing sensitive user data with third parties, a new investigation has found. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce transmission in the U.S, telehealth services and apps offering opioid addiction treatment have surged in popularity. This rise of app-based services comes […]

Shopify drops its App Store commissions to 0% on developers’ first million in revenue

Following similar moves by Apple, Google, and more recently Amazon, among others, e-commerce platform Shopify announced today it’s also lowering its cut of developer revenue across its app marketplace, the Shopify App Store, as well as the new Shopify Theme Store. The news was announced today alongside a host of other developer-related news and updates […]

Hit iPhone controller Backbone One scores Xbox Game Pass partnership at xCloud’s iOS launch today

Backbone One, the killer iPhone game pad I profiled here late last year, has just scored the mother of all tie-ups for a gaming accessory. It’s getting bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate as it launches on iOS today alongside the xCloud game streaming service. As a part of the deal, Backbone is being bundled […]

Facebook to target Nigerian learners with educational app Sabee, created by its R&D team

Last fall, Facebook announced it was opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria, which would provide the company with a hub in the region and the first office on the continent staffed with a team of engineers. We’ve now spotted one of the first products to emerge from this office: an education-focused mobile app called Sabee, […]

Mercuryo raises $7.5M for crypto-focused, cross-border payments after crossing $50M in ARR

Mercuryo, a startup that has built a cross-border payments network, has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round of funding. The London-based company describes itself as “a crypto infrastructure company” that aims to make blockchain useful for businesses via its “digital asset payment gateway.” Specifically, it aggregates various payment solutions and provides fiat and […]

Apple to drive China revenues with search ad launch

After launching five years ago in the United States, Apple’s search advertising service finally arrived in mainland China this week. The feature, called Apple Search Ads, lets developers bid on an advertising slot based on users’ keyword search in the App Store, similar to how Google search ads work. JPMorgan previously estimated the giant’s annual […]

UK’s CMA opens market study into Apple, Google’s mobile ‘duopoly’

The U.K.’s competition watchdog will take a deep dive look into Apple and Google’s dominance of the mobile ecosystem, it said today — announcing a market study which will examine the pair’s respective smartphone platforms (iOS and Android); their app stores (App Store and Play Store); and web browsers (Safari and Chrome).  The Competition and […]

Everyone you know is a Disney princess, which means AR is queen

This weekend, all of your friends morphed one by one into animated, Pixar-inspired characters. This isn’t a fever dream, and you’re not alone. On Thursday, Snapchat released a Cartoon 3D Style Lens, which uses AR to make you look like a background character from “Frozen.” On Snapchat, over 215 million users have engaged with the […]