According to figures revealed by Apple this week, the company paid out a total of $60 billion to App Store developers in 2021. In a press release, the company stated that it has paid out more than $260 billion to app developers since the App Store first debuted in 2008, an increase from the $200 billion it disclosed at the end of 2020 — implying that Apple paid app developers at least $60 billion in 2021 alone. Apple said that the amount was a new annual record for App Store developer earnings but added that it was “just a small proportion” of the overall commerce that the App Store allows. The statistic was part of a broader Apple announcement meant to demonstrate momentum for the company’s services business, which is a key signal for investors and analysts who want to see Apple make money not only from selling hardware but also from selling services and apps to its customers, such as app downloads.
“With over 745 million paid subscriptions, Apple continues to connect the world’s developers, artists, and storytellers with users across more than a billion devices, delivering powerful tools, content, and experiences that enrich their lives in profound ways every day,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Services.
Apple appears to be toeing a thin line between its usual self-promotion and not drawing too much attention to its outsized gains in announcing another App Store record. Customers on the App Store spent “more than ever” between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in 2021, according to the company, resulting in double-digit growth from the previous year. Developer backlash has increased as a result of App Store frauds, which were the subject of a Congressional hearing, as well as ongoing issues with the App Review process. As a result of the Epic lawsuit ruling, Apple was required to make App Store adjustments that would have allowed links to third-party payment choices this year but was later granted a last-minute reprieve from the court order while the case is appealed. Apple, on the other hand, has been forced to loosen its grip on the App Store in other regions, such as Japan and South Korea, where authorities urged Apple to enable links to external websites and take other steps to reduce its commissions.