Apple Has Paid Out More Than $7 Billion To Developers

Apple announced today that more than 40 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store for the iPhone and iPad — which has led to more than $7 billion in payments to developers.

That’s still a fraction of Apple’s revenue, $36 billion in the fourth quarter last year, but the rate at which developers is getting paid seems to be accelerating.

In March last year, Apple had paid out $4 billion to developers when it announced it had hit 25 billion downloads. In July 2011, it was at $2.5 billion.

This is still enough revenue to build an entire business, for some sectors. Two game companies, Backflip Studios and Supercell, brought in more than $100 million, according to Apple. Telltale Games, the company behind “The Walking Dead” series, also saw sales exceeding tens of millions, according to an earlier report in The WSJ.

Just 25 developers accounted for 50% of app revenue in the U.S. Apple’s App Store (for iPhone only) and Google Play during the first 20 days of November 2012, according to a recent report by Canalys, an analytics firm.
Apple provided a number of other figures for context. The App Store now has more than 500 million active user accounts, and two billion app downloads took place during the month of December—undoubtedly after many new users unwrapped iPad minis and iPod touches. Apple says it has now paid out more than $7 billion to third-party developers for their apps, of which 775,000 are now available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in 155 countries.

The iOS App Store was first launched in early 2008, almost a year after the iPhone made its debut. It took a year for the App Store to push its first billion downloads, but it was only five months later when it crossed the two billion download mark in September 2009. The market has exploded since then for Apple and for competing platforms alike; earlier this month, Flurry analytics said there were 1.76 billion app downloads on iOS and Android during a single week in 2012, with an estimated 17.4 million devices being activated on Christmas Day. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that Apple’s download numbers are multiplying—now if only app browsing and searching were even more intuitive (particularly when it comes to keywords), we could all download some more.

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