It's revenue, not market share, that's attracting devs to iOS

It's revenue, not market share, that's attracting devs to iOS

Summary: Android might be winning the mobile market share war, but when it comes to app revenue, iOS is king.


Google's Android might have the upper hand when it comes to market share, but it is the potential for revenue generation that's attracting devs to iOS. This, it turn, makes sure that it is Apple's App Store that has the compelling apps that people want.

Apple's WWDC 2013 has kicked off, and during the keynote speech CEO Tim Cook unveiled a chart that explains why developers prefer Apple. And it's down to one thing – dollars.

(Source: Apple)

Google is currently seeing 1.5 million activations a day, amounting to 45 million every month, and this growth is undeniably putting market share pressure on iOS, but in terms of money in the pockets of developers, iOS is king.

When it comes to an effective app store, Apple's has its ducks in a row. Of all the online digital download stores I've used, Apple's is the simplest and easiest to use, both on iOS and OS X. The combination of the iOS and OS X App Stores make setting up an iOS or OS X device – either from scratch or an upgrade – much easier than having to dig out CDs, DVDs, or find digital downloads from random sites. These stores also make buying apps easy, whether I'm at my desk or out and about.

Simplicity is something people are willing to pay for. And that benefits the both the end user and the developers.

Topic: Apple

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  • Sure

    I read an article on this very site last week that said the number of apps on iOS and Android was about even, with the Play store expected to exceed the App store in the coming months.

    But, I suppose it is apple week, Adrian has to big them up (based on wot Tim C said, Doh)
    • Fart apps...

      Apple has been making every effort to cull the repeated crap from the AppStore. Choice is good for a consumer but not so good for a developer. If on Google Play there are 100's of the same app you have to compete with (many stolen and re-submitted) you have to wonder firstly to put you own version on and secondly whether to even bother developing in the first place. Despite what many people think developers don't work for free and particularly don't like their software stolen and resold to make others money. The ultimate irony is Google can be making money of some developers software (Ads) and passing off a share to the software thief while the original author makes zero. At least that cannot happen on the AppStore.
      Anyway, choice is good and for some developers (currently most) it is better to release a quality product on iPS first and then decide whether of not to release an Android version and finally decide how much refinement will go into the Android version. After all, the consumers who choose Android because of the large amount of free apps are not exactly caring about the quality of the app. Who complains when the app is free!
  • It's revenue, not market share, that's attracting devs to iOS

    "but it is the potential for revenue generation that's attracting devs to iOS."
    Key word here is the potential. Many developers don't make a dime on iOS because their app store is so saturated with apps. If I was a developer I'd be look some of the other platforms instead.
    • Depends on the app...

      There are apps that are out of the park grand slams, those that are average and utilitarian, and then there a fishing apps that are trying to ride some fad or trend. Many developers won't make a dime on any platform because every app store is saturated with poor to mediocre apps. Instead they'll choose the one they think has the lowest cost to profit ratios to host and a model that fits the app most closely. This has as much to do with the developer as it does the software.
    • In other words, the iOS app market is like any other market

      Crap fails, good stuff makes lots of money. And, of course, like a good, modern Obama-era American, the failure blames the market instead of the fact he produced a piece of junk no one wants to buy.
      • bull

        70% of appstore revenue is gimmick in-app purchases, mainly games.
        People download the free games, play it to the point where they need to purchase something, "hey, I got that $20 itunes card, heck, I'll just use that!" and that's how most of that revenue is generated. Not quality apps being purchased, but cheap junky in-app purchases on idevices being used as itoys.
        • So $210,000,000/month going to quality apps.

          Sounds darned viable to me and still better than all of Android with its same "gimmicks" for in app purchases in games and freemium app model.
          • YES Google playstore is having the same problem

            it's the same in the Google playstore.
            The only difference is Google allowed Android to sideload apps so it is possible for high priced custom apps to be distributed directly to customers without paying appstore 30%.
          • Google Play is much worse than the AppStore.

            And the "side load" business is so fraught with danger (scare articles abound on the dangers of that), most will simply avoid it. So:

            Do you want 85% of $300 times 10


            Do you want 70% of $70 times 1000?

            On iOS, if you need custom distribution outside the AppStore with limited visibility, you use B2B. Highly effective for vertically integrated customers.

            Don't think running your own distribution is free and credit charge transactions don't cost. Likewise, you have sales and VAT taxes to worry about all of that com gin from Google's and Apple's "tax".

            I guess what I am saying. Is I disagree with your assessment of the situation.
    • If you're hinting at Windows, don't get your hopes up

      Windows has a ton of users, but you can get them all by targeting your assemblies at the desktop platforms - Win32 or .NET Framework, not the tiny market for WinRT. (Plus WinRT is a terrible, underpowered, and sandboxed all to hell platform.)
  • Apple ruined the software market

    Apple did 3 negative things with the appstore that impacted on developers:

    1. lower the average pricepoint of software

    2. licensing model became multi-device per user ID

    3. buy-once, upgrade forever model

    Developers are expected to offer high quality software at bargain basement prices for multiple installations and offer lifetime support and upgrade in return for, hopefully, volume sales thru the centralised appstore. iOS users are wanting multiple-install license MS Office for under $20. That is the lowered expectation thanks to Apple.
    This makes the platform attractive for users and ultimately assist Apple in selling more devices at huge margins. You would think Apple would be making it cheap for developers to market the apps? NOOOOO, they charge a massive 30% for running a download server.
    Apple doesn't care about the long term for software developers. It's all about hardware sales and that has been the way Apple works for decades. Apple has never made money with software and they are dragging software developers into the bargain basement bins with them.
    • $10,000,000,000 and counting.

      With a current run rate of about $700,000,000/month says your post is wrong.
      • the breakdown

        here's the breakdown
        about 25% of the revenue is actually upfront paid apps.
        about 70% is in-app purchases from free apps!
        the rest 5% is everything else.
        it is the in app purchases that's driving most of the revenue not the upfront payment of apps.
        and it is freemium games that's doing most of the revenue.
        therefore, you need a gimmick in your app to keep the money rolling in.
        If you rely on app purchases, it will drop off and that is my point.
        • It is still $700,000,000/month.

          It does not mater the revenue model and it points to your post being mostly wrong.
          • my point is valid

            software in the appstore is treated the same way as an mp3 song, or a movie, or a book.
            That is the issue facing developers where they are being priced down to less than a song for an app that requires support, maintenance, and upgrades.
            I don't expect anyone other than developers to appreciate the damage the appstore has done to the software market.
          • I am a developer.

            And your post is 100% mid-directed. Google is single handed lay destroying all value in creating quality content and design from books, music to (specifically) software. They are pushing very low monetization models that make viable revenue streams ONLY for Google while starving the content creators. I will take Apple's $0.20/app VS Google's $0.04/app any day
    • As a developer, I have no qualms with the Apple distribution model

      no more freeloaders hijacking your app; no more frustrating your users with weird activation schemes to defeat freeloaders; new fees whenever the app is installed to new devices. No worrying about distribution or hosting any of that.

      Yes, the sale price is lower - but a lot of software distribution's hassles are totally gone with this model, and it is definitely worth it.
  • Reliablity of this chart?

    One of office colleague is arguing on me on the reliability of this pie chart.
    Can you provide some some insight on it eg. where they got the data of google android revenue share etc. ?
    Siddarth Chaturvedi
  • both ap ecosystems oversupplied

    All you are getting with this analysis is that iphone users are paying money for more stuff that android users are either passing on, or getting for free. This would be a serious problem for the android system if it weren't for the fact that both app stores have more product than the consumers can stand to consume. Supply and demand, drives the price to near-zero, ios is just trailing android as a result of consumers being used to paying for ios apps. End result is inevitable for all but a very tiny number of games that earn based on fame and trendiness. The ecosystems are both oversaturated...

    There is no lack of android developers and android applications, and there never will be. And most of them, just like most ios app developers, won't make enough from sales to buy the morning codingfuel(aka coffee).