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App Store Sales Top A$800bn As Apple Faces Regulatory Headaches

Apple’s App Store raked in more than $800 billion AUD for developers last year as the iPhone manufacturer comes under increasing scrutiny for alleged anti-competitive practices.

During 2020, the App Store ecosystem facilitated $643 billion USD ($830 billion AUD) in billings and sales worldwide, a 24 per cent increase year-on-year. More than 90 per cent of App Store developers are small developers, defined by Apple as those with fewer than one million downloads and less than $1 million USD earnings across all their apps in a given year.

CEO Tim Cook trumpeted the figures as proving how “innovative, resilient, and dynamic” the app economy has become.

“The apps we’ve relied on through the pandemic have been life-changing in so many ways — from groceries delivered to our homes, to teaching tools for parents and educators, to an imaginative and ever-expanding universe of games and entertainment.

“The result isn’t just incredible apps for users: it’s jobs, it’s opportunity, and it’s untold innovation that will power global economies for many years to come.”

The App Store, however, is coming under increasing scrutiny from courts and regulators around the globe. As it is the only marketplace for apps on iOS platforms, agencies like the ACCC are examining the “significant market power” it holds; Epic Games, meanwhile, developer of Fortnite, has sued Apple over the 30 per cent commission it takes on App Store sales and subscriptions, as well as its banning of alternative payment methods on iOS devices.

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