Apple's App Store is Good for... Apple!

I learned some time ago that mobile application development contests while on the surface appear to be good for the entire ecosystem, especially for developers and enablers helping them, the truth is they are good for the organizers and the organizers only. That little lesson learned forced me to critically examine the app store game and who it's good for. For as long as I've been dabbling in the mobile space, developers have been screaming for a carrier-alternative for mobile consumables distribution, discovery, and billing-on-behalf-of. The app store offers this alternative, and as a result, thousands of developers smile on the option as a saving grace. When I see this, I think some developers either don't remember pre-app store days or that they are completely delusional.

Sure, the app store offers discovery & distribution freedom, but with that freedom comes increased competition on governed mobile consumables shelf-spaces that tax the amount of share to be had. AdMob's latest report proves this. According to the report, the app store generates $2.4B/yr for the entire ecosystem. Last time I checked, there were north of 75K apps in the store. Apple takes 30% of each sale, leaving 70% for each developer. So, here's the math on this.

$2,400,000,000/75,000*.70 = an average of $22,400 per developer per year. With 30% of the share, Apple's take is $720,000,000 per year. This is why I keep telling my friends that the app store is only good for Apple. Disagree? I'd like to hear why. Drop me a note.