App Store vs. Google Play revenue

Headlines blazed across the Internet this week that Google Play revenue grew by 67 percent, while Apple’s App Store only grew by 15 percent during the same time. Something about that seemed odd to me.

I’m no Horace Dediu, so please forgive my simplistic look at this, but when I looked at the stories, I realized that the research company didn’t actually provide any revenue numbers. How do they know the revenue from either company? It seems they are trying to work it out themselves, but that’s a guess at best.

Even Google will only say that “they’ve paid more money to developers this year already than all of last year.” They don’t provide any revenue at all, but say users have downloaded 50 billion apps.

Apple gives us some numbers to work with. At WWDC Apple said it paid $10 billion to developers since the App Store opened—$5 billion in the last year alone. Apple says it has 900,000 apps available and over 50 billion downloads from the App Store.

Since we don’t know how much Google has in revenue, 67 percent of thin air, doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Let’s assume that Apple’s growth is accurate1, 15 percent of billions of dollars seem pretty significant to me.

  1. Who knows what’s accurate with research companies these days.