We all knew Apple’s App Store was a moneymaker for the company. However, how lucrative has it been for the developers that put their apps and games there? It turns out billions of dollars have passed through the store into the hardworking app makers’ coffers.
Apple revealed how much it has paid out to app developers since the App Store began functioning. The total amount is a staggering $260 billion, as shown in a press release from the company.
This is a significant increase since last January when Apple said the total stood at about $200 billion, meaning developers enjoyed a payout of $60 billion in 2021.
The release says in part, “The efforts, innovation, and creativity of the developers who leverage Apple technology to build these incredible experiences, coupled with the power of the App Store’s global platform to connect businesses of all sizes with over 600 million people each week across 175 countries, has led to developers selling digital goods and services earning more than $260 billion since the App Store launched in 2008. This significant number sets a new yearly record for App Store developer earnings while representing just a small fraction of the overall commerce the App Store facilitates, serving as one meaningful marker of how the ecosystem continues to create opportunities and drive economic expansion for entrepreneurs around the world. This holiday season alone, App Store customers spent more than ever before between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, driving double-digit growth from last year.”
Apple provided more details, pointing out that the total amount spent in the store between Christmas Eve and New Year’s last December jumped significantly. This corresponds to many people getting gifts of iPhones or other Apple devices and setting them up for first-time use, which would no doubt include installing apps.
The press release also included some stats that Apple had shared months earlier. It included the number of people who signed on to services offered by Apple and other third-party app developers.
According to Eddy Cue, SVP of services, “Apple’s world-class portfolio of services proved essential in 2021, as people worldwide sought new ways to keep entertained, informed, connected, and inspired. With over 745 million paid subscriptions, Apple continues to connect the world’s developers, artists, and storytellers with users across more than a billion devices, delivering powerful tools, content, and experiences that enrich their lives in profound ways every day.”
Apple also boasted with the biggest launches in the App Store in 2021, including movies from notable filmmakers like Disney and HBO Max. It also mentioned new features like in-game events.
While these numbers are impressive and Apple is happy to publicize them, not all developers are satisfied with how much they got paid from the revenue generated by their app and games. The 30 percent cut Apple takes out of every dollar that flows through the store is a sore point for many developers who are even afraid to complain openly for fear of retaliation. The Apple cut applies even to subscriptions and in-app/in-game purchases.
Apple grants special status to some select app categories and makers, but apparently, you need to be big time to negotiate more favorable terms.
Developers feel trapped because Apple won’t even let you mention it if you have an external payment method, like through your website. Doing so could get your app or game banned, as Epic Games, the company behind the popular Fortnite game, found out. The company dragged Apple to court after admitting it intentionally flouted Apple’s rule to prove a point.
The lawsuit’s outcome was a mixed bag, with the court not mandating Apple to welcome back the company to its App Store. Neither was Apple required to cut its 30 percent tax. However, it was required to allow developers to include a link to external payment options. The ruling has been stayed pending Apple’s appeal.