Apple's best asset: Developers and its app economy

Apple's best asset: Developers and its app economy

Summary: Apple's design and ecosystem garner all the headlines, but the biggest moat around its business model is its developer community.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple touted new MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and a look at iOS6, but its primary asset---app developers---was highlighted early at its WorldWide Developer Conference.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, highlighted some jaw dropping figures:

  • 400 million App Store accounts;
  • 650,000 apps in its store;
  • 30 billion apps downloaded;
  • And $5 billion in payments to developers.

In other words, Apple's design and ecosystem garner all the headlines, but the biggest moat around its business model is its developer community. If developers stick with iOS---and there's no reason they wouldn't follow the money adn those links to real credit card accounts---Apple will continue to get the exclusive apps and deliver content to its users.

Bottom line: Developers are Apple's edge over Android.

More: WWDC: Apple intros MacBook Pro for business road warriors

Topic: Apple

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24 comments
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  • Fuller Brush Salesman motto

    Fuller Brushs best asset was its door to door salesman. 'nuff said.
    Your Non Advocate
    • You sell brushes then

      Speaks volumes it does.
      ego.sum.stig
      • I am well versed in a variety of topics

        I can make the connection between relying on a 3rd parties for the success of my business and its eventual failure. Try reading a bit more diverse topics. Here's a tip for you: To better understand Steve Jobs and Apple, read up on P.T. Barnum and his company.

        This way to the egress.
        Your Non Advocate
      • Multiple types of brushes then

        You didn't add anything new.
        ego.sum.stig
  • The Post-PC era is all about ecosystem.

    Much to the chagrin of guys like Corey Doctorow and the rest of the "to own it you have to open it" crowd, most people don't mind a crystal prison, and as long as millions of people keep buying iPhones and, more importantly, apps developers will stick with iOS. As Mr. Cook said today, they've had [b]five billion[/b] reasons to do so. So even if the top-notch developers also do Android and/or Windows Phone apps, it's inconceivable that, in the foreseeable future, they'll [b]not[/b] develop for iPhone first.
    matthew_maurice
    • This was true of the Pre-Post-PC era, nothing new

      Windows won for the same reason. MacOS always gets second rate versions of high quality applications that were always available on Windows first.

      And since Windows [b]still[/b] dominates over OS X:
      [i] it's inconceivable that, in the foreseeable future, they'll not develop for Windows first.[/i]
      toddbottom3
      • Apparently you completely missed the app phenomena

        You know, the one where everything was developed first just for Apple's systems. Nary a whiff of Windows in their wee world. There was something mentioned about 30 billion apps downloaded.

        Off you go now pup, chase some cars.
        ego.sum.stig
      • ego: I missed nothing

        Apps are programs, nothing more.

        The phenomenon that matthew was talking about is nothing new. It has ALWAYS been about ecosystem which is why Windows has always been and is currently so much better than MacOS.

        To say "post-pc era is all about ecosystem" is as accurate as saying "the 2000s are all about humans needing oxygen to live". We've always needed oxygen to live, this isn't something that is new in the 2000s.
        toddbottom3
      • And this has what to do with the topic?

        Besides the fact that is not the reason Windows won the PC war early on.

        In regard to your second post here, Window is not "so much better" than OSX. You might prefer it but that does not make it better. Just as I prefer OSX but unlike you my ego does not make me think that makes it better over, just a better choice for me.
        non-biased
    • So one can make iOS apps on an iPhone or iPad now?

      Where are the tools? So far one needs a Mac, built on the same off-the-shelf PC hardware.

      "Post-PC"? That's marketed fluff for people to swallow.
      HypnoToad72
      • But it's funny

        how much it seems to chap your a$$ :-)
        non-biased
  • Um, if it weren't for people buying Apple products

    and iOS apps, developers wouldn't be earning that money. Methinks you have your analogy backwards. It is the success of Apple's hardware and user experience that attracts developers, not the other way around.
    baggins_z
    • It's called a virtuous cycle.

      More devices sold means more demand for apps which means more opportunities for developers which means bigger ecosystem which means more devices sold. Rinse and repeat.
      matthew_maurice
      • It's called declining marginal utility

        The first unit of consumption of a good or service yields more utility than the second and subsequent units. When saturation occurs, collapse is inevitable.
        Your Non Advocate
      • @face

        Well, since all we hear is how Android is tromping iOS, we should see that Android collapse from saturation pretty soon.
        baggins_z
      • Have you developed for the platform?

        Or are you just basing your decision on glib and glossy talking points?

        Try doing the actual work, find out your return on investment and the likelihood of reaching the goals you seek and get back to us... you might find your time, labor, and creativity is undervalued - believe it or not.

        You see, ROI is for everyone involved. Apple has stamped down on developers to pocket the difference for itself.
        HypnoToad72
    • Users Attract Developers, Not The Other Way Round

      Correct! We see this in the way Android has managed to surpass Apple's Iphone, in spite of having fewer apps and fewer developers working on apps. Now the greater popularity of Android is persuading Iphone developers to, slowly and reluctantly, move to where the customers are.
      ldo17
      • Slight correction. Users who pay money

        Since most Android handsets are bought because they are cheap, Android users buy fewer apps as a general rule.
        baggins_z
      • Users have two functions

        1. To say they need something
        2. To be conditioned to think they need something

        In both cases, someone has to be around to fulfill the need.

        In an ethical society, we would never see #2 in any way shape or form.

        And how often have you moved to where the chee... customers are? I hope you live in a mobile trailer home... it must get expensive to move every few years...
        HypnoToad72
      • Sorry

        But the stats still show 7 of 10 new projects are for iOS.

        @baggins_z I did see a report a while back that showed Android users that did pay for apps on average spent more than iOS user. The problem is that a far smaller percentage of Android users spend money so the advantage is still with iOS.
        non-biased