Apple raked in $500 million from apps in one week

Apple announced Thursday that the first week of 2015 brought in half a billion dollars from apps and in-app purchases. This past New Year’s Day was the biggest sales day in the App Store’s history.

Robert Galbraith
File picture of Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaking about iPads at an Apple event in San Francisco

Apple announced Thursday that the first week of 2015 brought in a record $500 million from apps and in-app purchases. Though the company did not list specific numbers, it said New Year’s Day was the biggest sales day to date for the App Store.

The tech giant reported the news after a record-breaking year in 2014, where it saw a 50 percent growth in billings, fetching $10 billion for app developers. This implies that Apple customers spent around $15 billion in the App Store in 2014, making Apple’s cut somewhere around $4.5 billion. Apple collects 30 cents on the dollar for every purchase made in the App Store.

Apple credited this leap in sales to the introduction of iOS 8 and the creative flexibility it gave developers.

“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a statement. “We're so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion.” 

The App Store now offers more than 1.4 million apps for its devices, including more than 725,000 designed for the iPad.

This record number of app sales has been good for the US economy, as well, according to Apple. The company claims to have generated more than 1 million US jobs. Since the creation of the App Store in 2008, more than 672,000 developer jobs have been formed in what Apple refers to as “the iOS ecosystem.” Apple also has around 66,000 US-based employees and roughly 334,000 jobs opportunities have come, it says, as a direct result of Apple’s growth.

However, some are questioning the way Apple does business. Citing what it referred to as “outrageous” terms in Apple’s Developer Agreement and digital-rights-management requirements, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world, reported Wednesday that it would not be releasing its new app for Apple products. The app was designed to send alerts relating to breaking news about digital rights and any EFF campaigns.

The organization strongly opposes developer agreements and sees them as “bad for developers and users alike.”

The top concerns of the EFF were Apple's ban on public statements about the terms of the agreement and its prohibition on reverse engineering or tinkering with Apple’s software or technology, commonly referred to as “jail-breaking.” The EFF also raised concerns about Apple's “kill switch” that can delete an app from existence.

Apple is a private company that can manage its content as it wishes, points out TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez. And in the case of the “kill switch,” it is more of a safety net to protect against malicious code or malware, she says. Apple founder Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that he hoped that metaphoric lever would never have to be pulled, but it would be “irresponsible” not to have one.

Though Ms. Perez has her critiques of the EFF’s “black-and-white” stances on digital rights, she admits they are important to the constantly developing industry and that the group raises questions that companies should take to heart.

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