Apple app developers furious with their cut of profits

Eighty percent of American developers are in up in arms over their share of application profits, according to a new survey by Evans Data Corporation.

The report, which included over 400 developers, found that the majority of US application developers thought they should receive more than the standard 70 percent share. Nearly 50 percent of the developers asked thought that app stores should only get a 10 percent cut, with 90 percent going to those who made the application. Just over 20 percent believed the cut should be 80/20 in favour of developers, while over 10 percent believed developers should get 100 percent profits.

developer shares

It also found that application stores were the preferred distribution model of only 15 percent of developers, with over 50 percent preferring direct sales to ensure maximum profit.

Developers were also unhappy with app store restrictions on price and content, with over 70 percent against price fixing and over 50 percent against content restriction. Only a third of the developers were in favour of content restrictions, with many still undecided.

“Virtually all of the best known app stores have fallen in line directly with the 30/70 revenue split that Apple introduced, but there could be a big upside for any vendor bold enough to deviate,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data. “If the app store is more a strategic asset than a revenue center, then 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.”

The survey found that only 10 percent of developers use Objective C, Apple’s propriety developer language, although that is expected to rise to nearly 12 percent next year. The limitations caused by using this language and the discontent developers are expressing over the 70/30 profit cut that Apple has been marshalling makes it more than understandable that Objective C has remained a niche market language.

objectivec usage

The survey is the latest in a 12-year series of surveys of developers in North America.