Apple Inc.’s App Store has turned countless software developers into millionaires since its launch almost a decade ago. But working with the famously controlling company has often been frustrating.
Apps were rejected with little explanation, and Apple has been stingy about sharing customer data that could have helped developers improve their products.
Apple can no longer afford to brush off the developer community. With sales of iPhone, iPad and Macs slowing, the company is under pressure to extract more revenue from services, a bright spot that includes the apps business. Apple needs to ensure that the next generation of apps — especially ones selling a service that’s used everyday — are made for iOS rather than such competing platforms as Google Play.
In recent months, Apple has made a number of concessions to developers. The company has built analytical tools that provide insights into how apps are used and monetised, sped up the approval process for new ones, halved its take for many transactions in the App Store and made it easier for developers to sell subscriptions.
Services are an increasingly important piece of Apple’s business, with revenue surging 22 per cent to $24 billion (Dh88 billion) last year. The standouts are the App Store, where revenue increased by 40 per cent to $8.6 billion, and the Apple Music subscription service, whose sales surged to $1.6 billion in its first full year, according to estimates from Gene Munster, who runs Loup Ventures and covered Apple as an analyst for many years.
CEO Tim Cook has been talking up the services business in quarterly conference calls. “We expect the revenues to be the size of a Fortune 100 company this year,” he said in January, predicting that the business, which include iTunes and Apple Care, will double in size by 2021.
For years, app developers have complained that Apple dictated what they could and couldn’t do and rarely explained the decision-making process. Kushal Dave.—Agencies