App Stores Have Unshakeable Clout; Is Apple Reconsidering Ads?

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Google Play Wins

Apple and Google have taken heavy flak for their 30% revenue cut for apps downloaded from their respective app stores. But the two powerhouse mobile operators may have won the war last week, when Epic, the game developer behind the megahit mobile game Fortnite, agreed to list its app in the Play Store after a two-year holdout and PR effort to change Google’s policy. “If a company as determined and deep-pocketed as Epic Games, wielding a game as popular as Fortnite as a bludgeon, cannot force even a momentary reconsideration of the revenue share, then it seems extremely unlikely that anyone else will be able to,” according to the video game news site GamesIndustry.biz.

Another Bite

Apple has dipped its toes in advertising, as with its ill-fated iAd network, but it’s never been wholly committed to ad revenue. It syndicates search from Google, and NBCUniversal has an exclusive deal for Apple News ad sales. But quiet, recent changes suggest Apple may be interested in an ad platform business, Adweek reports. Apple now allows more marketing outreach via push notifications, which it previously blocked as a user experience pitfall. And a slight change to its developer terms of service suggests Apple is expanding its search inventory from just its App Store to anywhere where its “Services” business applies.

Stankey’s Moment

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will retire at the end of June, handing the reins over to COO and longtime exec John Stankey, The Wall Street Journal reports. Stephenson’s legacy has been his transformation of AT&T from a telecom company to a media conglomerate with the $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV in 2015 and the $81 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2016. Stankey, who shares the same vision for AT&T as Stephenson, will be responsible for successfully launching HBO Max, AT&T’s entry into the streaming wars, as its traditional PayTV business collapses. Stephenson, who will stay on as chairman until January 2021, exits the company after coming to an agreement with activist investor Elliott Management over a strategic review of its assets.

But Wait, There’s More!

 

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