Apple’s App Store ecosystem could soon be worth $1T

Apple’s App Store ecosystem could be worth $1T soon… which will only make the antitrust bells ring even louder.

January 12, 2021

The iPhone was officially announced on Jan. 9, 2007. Since then, Apple has sold $1T+ worth of high-end smartphones.

Those are jaw-dropping numbers, but the App Store figures are shockingly good in their own right.

The App Store has paid $200B+ to developers since 2008

This is according to mobile analyst Horace Dediu, who broke out even more recent figures:

  • $1.8B: App Store sales in the last week of 2020 (+27% YoY)
  • $540m: App Store sales on Jan. 1, 2021 (+40% YoY)
  • 600m: The number of iPhone users that have an active subscription

By Dediu’s calculations, the App Store saw overall economic transactions of $675B in 2020. At the current growth rate, the implied economic value could reach $1T within 2 years.

Apple’s antitrust risk

With cases against Facebook and Google already in play, the risk to Apple comes from its control of the App Store, which is a gateway to 1B+ users:

  • Epic Games filed suit against Apple for its current payment system, which takes 30% cuts from app sales above $1.2m
  • Facebook is waging a massive PR campaign against Apple for its new privacy policies, which hamper ad targeting

Apple most recently flexed its power by wiping Parler (AKA “right-wing Twitter”) from its App Store, following the deadly storming of the US Capitol.

There’s a very high likelihood that when App Store’s ecosystem does hit $1T, it will be knee-deep in an antitrust battle.

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