Did GDPR kill off millions of Android apps?

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The introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 may have had a detrimental effect on the number of new apps available for Android smartphones, according to a new research paper.

In the article titled “GDPR and the Lost Generation of Innovative Applications”, economics researchers from several universities in the EU, UK and US examined the impact of GDPR on the IT industry. mobile apps.

To compile their paper, the researchers examined 4.1 million apps on the Google Play Store between July 2016 and October 2019 to find that the privacy benefits of GDPR came with “substantial costs to consumers, starting from a reduced set of choices, and for the producers of decreasing incomes and increasing costs”.

While consumers would have had fewer choices when it comes to apps, apps available on the Play Store and Apple’s App Store saw revenue increases, with total revenue across both platforms rising from 43.6 billion in 2016 to 83.6 billion in 2019 according to The register.

Transformed by GDPR

After the GDPR came into force in May 2018, app developers had to comply with rules that required consent for data collection, transparent data processing, purpose limitation, accuracy, limited retention, privacy and liability in order to distribute their applications in the EU.

The researchers’ paper, which is distributed through the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research and will soon be submitted for publication in a journal, revealed that the Android app market has been transformed as a result of GDPR.

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At the same time as the number of Android apps fell by about a third following the implementation of the GDPR, fewer new apps were created (47.2% less) and the use of apps that remained on the Play Store fell by 45.3%. Meanwhile, the average number of users per app increased by about a quarter (25%) as end users migrated from low-quality apps to higher-caliber ones.

Nevertheless, it can be said that the GDPR worked as intended, as low-quality apps that did not respect their users’ data disappeared from the Play Store. Consumers have instead turned to apps that have the resources to protect their data while complying with GDPR.

Through the register

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