The Next Challenges for the EU Mobile Economy

On 27 June, the Developers Alliance organized a Tech Policy Dialogue on “The Next Challenges for the EU Mobile Economy” in Brussels.  The session brought together representatives from the EU institutions and the industry to explore the state of competition in Europe and  discuss the role of government in the app marketplace.

The event provided a great platform to cover topics very dear to our developers’ community with direct input from it. We were indeed joined by Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo, Tariq Patel, Head of Engineering at Yoyo Wallet, and Ash Davies, Senior Android Developer at Immobilien Scout 24, who shared their first-hand experience on the challenges of developing in Europe. They also had a chance to exchange views with Pēteris Zilgalvis, Head of the Startups and Innovation Unit at DG CONNECT, European Commission, in a panel discussion moderated by Nick Wallace, from the Centre for Data Innovation, on how policymakers can ensure that the European regulatory environment supports developers and helps them continue to prosper, rather than stifle their chances to do so.

The Developers Alliance believes that the regulatory landscape, both at the national and international level, has a great influence on the potential of growth of the app economy. Policy-makers can and should create the right conditions to ensure developers can easily start new businesses and remove all barriers to smooth access to an efficient and non-fragmented global market. At the same time, legislators should realize their limits when it comes to keeping  up with the pace of technology, and the risks of them causing unintended consequences as a result of well-intentioned but ill-advised regulations. Developers and publishers know this risk very well, which is why their strong preference is for the government to play a more limited role in the app ecosystem.

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"The European mobile economy has proven to be a strong provider of new employment opportunities, a wealth of new creative technology, and has placed Europe as one of the world leaders of mobile innovation, independently, without the intervention of government bodies." -

Ash Davies, Senior Android Developer, Immobilien Scout 24

Yet, policy-makers don’t seem to grasp this reality and are putting forward (or planning to) new legislation that can impact platforms and publishers alike, potentially altering revenue models and closing established pipelines to consumers, on the basis of a perceived lack of competition in the ecosystem. For example, when, two years ago, the European Commission announced its investigation on Android, the authority prophesied that Google was stifling innovation. The reality, though, is very different, as clearly outlined in the Developers Alliance’s updated report on competition in the mobile app market.

In the report, we interviewed developers, publishers and consumers and their opinion runs counter to the European Commission’s antitrust complaint against Android.

The nearly unanimous opinion of those in the app ecosystem is that they see a competitive and thriving industry, enabled by platforms like Android and iOS, that are direct catalysts for growth and innovation.

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"Android has empowered an entire sector of young companies and aspiring developers, reducing the entry requirements, facilitating innovation and competition between hardware manufacturers." -

Ash Davies, Senior Android Developer, Immobilien Scout 24

Those platforms connect publishers and consumers, while responding to market pressure as any business would. The resulting stability has minimized risk and increased opportunities for developers, as technology continues to blur the lines between verticals. Developers celebrate the access and opportunities platforms provide, while their feedback helps the industry reduce inefficiencies and improve over time.

Any view that sees the app industry as uncompetitive has not taken a close enough look at it, nor has spoken to a developer who is currently working in the industry.

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Director, European Policy & Government Relations