back to article 80% of devs chafe at Apple's App Store cash split

Eighty per cent of North American developers believe that the iPhone App Store's revenue split is unfair, according to a new study from research outfit Evans Data. The Evans Data Spring North American Developer Survey polled more than 400 developers across the continent, and about 320 of them said they should receive more than …


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  1. RichyS


    In other news, 80% of developers delusional of their own worth.

    1. jake Silver badge

      80%? You're an optimist.

      Remember Sturgeon’s Revelation? "90% of everything is crud."

  2. Anonymous Coward


    These developers have obviously never sold anything anywhere else. Try selling through just about any other store, online or otherwise and you will soon see that the Apple deal is actually pretty good

    1. Andy Jones


      How exactly? The article stated that the other stores mimic the split and only offer a 30/70 split.

  3. Neil 21

    Breaking news, honest!

    80% of people polled think their taxes are too high.. Film at 11!!

  4. Graham 25

    No **** Sherlock...

    The other 20% are obviously liars as well.

  5. R Cox

    Why charge at all?

    I object that I have to pay for Apps. I think Apple should provide free bandwidth and support to keep the store running perfectly, and the developers should offer their product for free, possibly with ads if they want revenue. Obviously such a bold move would be of benefit to Apple and the developers. Apple would be able to defend the draconian censorship of Apps by saying it provides the site as a public services, and developers could gain a reputation for good Apps, as well as ad revenue.

    I think this was the idea of the original Adroid Marketplace. Now the greedy developers want to charge money, which Google set a maximum on, and google takes it's 30% cut.

    1. Steve Todd

      That's an option at the moment

      You don't have to charge for your iPhone apps (a great many of them are free if you bother to check), and you can embed advertising from assorted sources (Apple being late to the party in providing their own version). People still want to buy apps without adverts in them though.

      The fact that Google charges exactly the same (30%) and provides both free and paid sales models for developers shows that Apple must be doing something right. Apple is a little more developer friendly in that it allows developers to set pretty much any price they like (though you risk having your software pulled if the price is wildly out of proportion to it's worth, like the famous 'I am Rich' app.)

    2. Jean-Luc

      Dude... don't forget to take your meds in the morning.

      Greedy developers, public service.... What you been smoking? If I want to charge for an app that I spend my time writing up that's my own damn business. If it costs too much, it doesn't sell.

      And if you want to share, make it free, 's as simple as that.

  6. Daniel B.

    I'd complain more about the "approval" process.

    30% doesn't sound excessive, but then I'm paying 40%/year interest rates on my Credit Cards. However, I'm more concerned on the Jobsphere banning apps here and there just because Jobs didn't like a particular app, considers it useless, or whatever His Jobsiness believes is "wrong for you".

    I'd also like an App Store that doesn't have those idiotic region locks; it has always been annoying that many shops have some kind of region lock (US only! EU only!) when the whole Internet Commerce idea was based on the premise of a borderless market. Oh and of course ... no "single appstore" lock as well.

    Interesting note: 10% of devs use Objective C. No sh*t Sherlock ... only the Appleistas would use a language that looks like the unnatural offspring of C and Smalltalk, instead of Java, C++ or even C#.

  7. DZ-Jay

    80% of developers?

    Are these iPhone developers or just developers in general? If the latter, it is absolutely irrelevant. There are obviously plenty of iPhone developers accepting the terms and conditions of the platform, so why would Apple or anybody care if developers which do not participate--nor apparently plan on participating--in the program are happy about such policies?


  8. Bruce Hoult

    how soon they forget

    While it would be nice to not have to pay Apple for hosting, credit card processing, bandwidth etc etc, almost every previous retailing arrangement saw the developer get the thin end of the split, not the thick end!

    1. the bat
      Jobs Halo

      The developer takes home 70% apple pocket30%

      The developer takes home 70% apple pocket30% what is the fuss all about!

  9. Argh
    Gates Halo

    Compare to Handango

    I believe that the Handango revenue split depended on how much the application makes in gross revenue in 2008 (no idea now).

    <= $250,000 and they take 50%

    $250,001-$1000,000 and they take 40%

    >$1000,000 and they take 30%

    Apple looking pretty reasonable now, right?

    Ugh. I feel dirty for defending Apple. Have a Bill Gates with a Halo to make up for it :D

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    80 % of Sheep

    ...complain about Wolves being too carnivorous, according to a study by StudiesThatReallyImpactYourBottomlineOrMaybeNot Inc. of BloodyMerkinTown, Indiana.

  11. Dan 10

    Who's this analyst?

    "...providing the developer with a better revenue share model could go a long way toward promotion of that particular distribution channel and thus growth of market share for a technology.”

    Um, yeah, because the current model has really stifled growth and market share for Apple, hasn't it?

    Maybe this would help the non-Apple app stores, but then your use of 'Apple' in the headline would be pointless, wouldn't it?!

  12. Tim Bates

    Retail without the middle man.

    I'd estimate the split is fairly normal if you take the Apple Store price to be the "retail" price. If they were selling boxed copies in a shop, they'd probably get far less than 70% offered by Apple.

    Of course the other complaint about over-restrictive policies is very true. I was all set to buy an iPhone 3G when they first released, but just before they came out, there were a series of grumbles from developers about being rejected or having apps take months to get approved... I couldn't bring myself to buy a device that restricts 3rd party apps that way (and it's worse now than it was then).

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Cade Metz in Same Old Apple Polemic Shocker!

    Change the record Cade, you are boring.

  14. Def Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: Retail without the middle man.

    Back in the day (well about 15 years ago) for the games industry, the retailer (and the tax man) would take around 45% of the box price. The distributer would claim in the region of 15%. The publisher would take the rest and negotiate a percentage for the developer (usually between five and 10%) after any up-front development costs have been repaid.

    Developers are always going to complain they're getting a bum deal.

    I think I'll write the world's smallest violin app tonight.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    What a bunch of morons

    Well the people complaining about this have never had to sell software before have they.

    Back in the bad old days of J2ME the split was 60:40 ... to start with then 50:50. Unless you were on Orange in which case the split was 30:70 (that's right 30% to the developer 70% to Orange).

    Let alone that the operators stitched up preferred supplier agreements so you'd end up (if you were lucky) with 50% of 50% ... i.e. 25% of the agreed price.

    If you compare the AppStore to premium retail space then you should compare with the 70% of retail price that the retailer takes.

    Apple's deal is looking pretty darn good. Cos badgers have more sense than 80% of the surveyed whingers.

  16. twelvebore

    In other news ... Pope craps in woods, bears are Catholic

    So basically they asked developers if they'd prefer to get more money for their apps, and on average the answer was yes? Where can I get a job asking these questions?

    Would these devs prefer a 33 / 33 / 33-and-you-foot-the-bill-for-production split of a more traditional distribution model?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bleeding Obvious

    80% of drivers think the speed limit is too low

    80% of teachers think class sizes are too big

    80% of voters think income tax is too high

    Hey, there is a trend here (thanks Pareto), perhaps Apple should have taken 80% and given the developers 20% ? You try the "old" model - getting someone to publish your app, distribute it to retailers etc. Book retailers - watch out once the public accept e-books in large number.

  18. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    IT Angle

    They should use Cobol, not C

    I object to the word "developer" in relation to people who make crApple Apps, I've been writing Cobol programs for 38 years and I've never had write a Cobol program that makes fart sounds.

    But that's the trouble with the youf of today, they come out of collage and think because they know some fancy language like C or Java that they think they can make a living writing programs that make fart sounds or applications that track a woman’s menstrual cycle, all this drag and drop etch-a-sketch programming is not real programming I tell you, I remember back in 1972 I had to write a program using only ones and zeroes and blah blah blah blah blah blah……..


    Concerned developer

    Upper Mainframe


    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Field von stupidgermansoundingname

      Cobol, really?

      You know, people in glass houses really shouldn't throw stones.

      You can elevate yourself to a superior position, but there will always then be a group that elevates itself above you - it's a stupid game, stop playing it.

      1. Scott Terril

        @AC 13:14

        The game is being ironic. It's called a sense of humor. I'm sure they have an iPhone app for that.

      2. Andy ORourke

        I Think the Field Marshall.......

        was hoping that readers of the post might be able to detect a hint of irony without having to use the joke icon.

        You are either American (with no sense of Irony, in which case see icon) or are double bluffing with your own ironic comment in reply to an ironic comment, I can't decide.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Didn't irony

          have something to do with iron?

          1. jake Silver badge

            It would do one well ...

            ... to look up the meaning of "glass house" in this context.

            I remember watching a guy[1] toggle in code on the front panel of an Altair 8800 that allowed it to play "Bicycle Built for Two" and "Fool On The Hill" over a transistor radio placed on top of it. Took the guy half an hour or so to "program" the machine. One of the people in attendance was heard to comment "that's probably the best use I've seen for a personal computer yet ... "[2]. It was late 1975 or early '76, at an early Homebrew Computer Club meeting.

            [1] Steve Dompier?

            [2] Tom Pittman? Has been a LOT of water under the ol' bridge ...

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              "Daisy, Daisy, ..." Wasn't that HAL 9000?

              The space programme vindicated. Done for real of course on the Moon by Apollo 17 performing "Strolling in the Park One Day". (Finishing on a song.)

              As for credible apps for a phone/tablet/PDA ... I realise that diet governance and calorie counting IS an area where a handy app would be useful. And for me it would have to be, open the thing, compare today's calorie count so far with ideal, decide whether to eat or not eat a biscuit, log it. Or maybe set an alarm to tell myself that I AM allowed to eat it thirty minutes from now. And in particular I'd want one-tap logging of what I personally eat or drink at that time of day; porridge for breakfast, half bottle of Buckfast for lunch - AT lunch; for the caffeine, you see :-)

              Is there an app for that?

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Let the flames begin....

        Are you a fanboi? Has kneeling before the Jobsisian alter turn you some sort of android and removed all your ability to recognise irony and humour (however bad it may be).

        Just so you understand, do you see the way I worked the word "android" in to a comment about the iphone, an android is a robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human and the name of another mobile phone operating system.

        Field marshal Krakenfart was a name used by Von Smallhausen in the TV comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo, so, not so much a stupid German sounding name, just a silly sounding one, but at least I put a tiny bit of thought into it instead of just opting to be a coward.

        1. iamapizza
          Thumb Up


          Though I don't know who that Field Marshal is, I did notice how the word android was worked into the sentence there and I was immediately pleased that I'm not an American.

    2. the bat
      Thumb Down

      That was back in the Day

      The IBM mainframes are nothing but now over glorified Power (PC) based systems which now run C/C++, RPG, & CrapBol and the nice modern day subsystems Apache, Java and PHP along side the old soon to be dead IMS, CICS, & TSO. So the way i see it you're soon out of a job. Oh i remember those days VSE/ESA & CICS with a little power and VTAM but you can run all of that now on any PC with a copy of Hercules.

      The Bat


  19. The First Dave Silver badge

    200% of nothing

    Perhaps some of these developers might consider going solo, so that they can get 100% of the (severely diminished) income that would result?

    Seems to me that getting 70% of the income off something that is marketed, distributed and sold by someone else is a pretty good deal, particularly when they are the largest market...

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Harri Knob

      What monopoly? There is no monopoly here.

      I think there's possibly a bell ringing, but it's not in my head. ;-)

  21. Ivan Headache

    They should try being photographers

    My agent takes 55%

    (But then he does sell them better than I do.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New approach ? New Market?

      Getty Images charge so much. Is there no equivalent of an app store for photographs - where photogaphers can load their photos (automatically marked with a watermark) and then people can buy them for a fixed fee. Of course, the historic licensing schemes may need to be adapted (e.g. fixed fee rather than cost per use / publication volumes etc.)...

      1. bothwell

        new market

        Yers, I think iStockphoto does more of less what you're thinking of.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        or a different model.

  22. Inachu


    I want to know the big picture behind the rejections and if any judgements on banned apps are based on the reviewers religion that are somehow being transposed on perhaps an app developt by an atheist and such.

  23. Adam T


    Don't tell me, all those developers were selling 99 cent crapware.

    70/30 split is a bloody marvel. On any 'traditional' platform, with a publisher, you'd be lucky to scrape 40/60 (in favour of the publisher), and your royalties would only accrue after the marketing and publishing spend was recouped by the publisher.

    This must be proof that greed has an exponential growth curve.

  24. Jean-Luc

    Am in the 20%

    The other 80% obviously haven't looked at the retail business. Nor at the Nokia app store from a while back which was at 40% for Nokia IIRC. Ditto Handango.

    The real value of this model is that it allows developers to concentrate on... developing and, maybe, marketing. Rather than billing. And it avoids customers having to sign up and enter credit card info on tons of different payment hosting websites of unknown hacker-proof-ness.

    For all its technical backwardness that is one thing the French 3615 Minitel Teletext system got right in the 90s. Massive numbers of online services were made available and some made a ton of money because the customers just paid up through their regular phone bill.


    I think the next logical step would be a company that hosted for-pay web services. For example, you could write up a bank account number validation service in SOAP/REST and charge for it. The hosting company would host many web services, using a generic sign up procedure and would take a cut of each transaction's charge. The customers could shop around using several back account validation services (or tide calculator or naughty SOAP messages) without signing up at multiple sites.

    I pitched this idea at some colleagues and they of course thought a 30% cut was too much and they would rather spend time writing their own billing system to support the validation service.

    p.s. a large volume discount (say 20% rather than 30% past a certain number of sales) would be nice, your Jobs-iness.

    1. jake Silver badge


      "I think the next logical step would be a company that hosted for-pay web services. For example, you could write up a bank account number validation service in SOAP/REST and charge for it. The hosting company would host many web services, using a generic sign up procedure and would take a cut of each transaction's charge. The customers could shop around using several back account validation services (or tide calculator or naughty SOAP messages) without signing up at multiple sites."

      Congrats. You've just invented Compuserve. You could have become a billionaire, if you had been born 40 years earlier ...

      1. Jean-Luc


        Don't think so. I am basically talking about a micropayments clearing house that facilitates _other_ people's web services, on a machine-to-machine transaction-based basis and aggregates all those uses into a single contract and invoice, taking a standardized cut along the way.

        (Pheew, long sentences make me dizzy).

        Compuserve was a end-user, by-the-hour or flat monthly fee, AOL-like (BBB) that mostly served up its own contents, AFAICT.

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