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Apple App Store devs earned $60B in 2021 despite growing antitrust scrutiny

The news: Apple reported that it has paid out more than $260 billion to app developers since its App Store opened in 2008. Apple’s developers were paid at least $60 billion in 2021.

More on this: App Store developer commissions are a useful metric in determining the success of Apple’s App Store even as it faces mounting antitrust investigations pushing for changes in App Store rules, per Bloomberg.

  • The Open App Markets Act, which targets how companies operate app stores with more than 50 million users, aims to ban app stores from forcing developers to use the store’s payment systems.
  • Apple initially took a standard 30% commission as the only app delivery option for iPhones and iPads. It altered the rules so developers who earn less than $1 million a year pay Apple 15% commission. 
  • Consumers spent $72.3 billion in the Apple App Store in 2020; rival app store Google Play brought in $38.8 billion in gross revenues, per Sensor Tower. 
  • Apple reportedly agreed to let developers point their users to alternative payment options in August 2021, but an appeal during the Epic v. Apple case has delayed alternative payments until the case is decided.

What’s next: Apple’s App Store profits will continue to generate more revenue for the multitrillion-dollar firm. Expect global antitrust regulators to intensify their efforts against the monolith in the coming months.

  • Apple announced yesterday that it will comply with a South Korean law that requires it to allow third-party App Store payments. Apple said it will still take a cut of all App Store sales but at a reduced rate. 
  • South Korea’s implementation of the Telecommunications Business Act sets a radical precedent that could motivate antitrust watchdogs in other countries to pursue regulation more aggressively.