Technology

What's Up With Apple: App Store Rakes In $643 Billion, Back to the Office and More

Last year, the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store “facilitated” $643 billion in billings and sales, up 24% year over year from the $519 billion in sales facilitated in 2019. A CNBC estimate from January put Apple’s gross 2020 sales for 2020 at $64 billion.

An Apple-commissioned study by Analysis Group focuses on the impact of the App Store on small businesses and Apple’s reduction of its commission rate on apps from 30% to 15% beginning in January for companies that earned less than $1 million in 2020.

Small developers that earn less than $1 million and have fewer than a million downloads of all their apps (a different group from those eligible for the 15% commission rate) “represented more than 90% of all developers on the App Store between 2015 and 2020.” Apple fosters the growth of these small businesses by offering them “a global platform to distribute their apps to one billion App Store customers worldwide, with built-in support for various local payment methods. In addition, to help developers develop, distribute, and market their apps, Apple offers a large set of developer tools, resources, and educational and support programs.”

The App Store also promotes larger businesses. The study notes that more than 75 app-based companies with a valuation of more than $510 billion have gone public or been acquired.

In an email to employees Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is asking most of its staff to come into the office three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays) beginning in September. These people will have the option of working from home on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Verge cited Cook’s email:

For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other. Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.

Another member of Apple’s self-driving car group recently left the company, according to a report at Bloomberg. Dave Scott, a robotics manager, left to become the chief executive officer of medical technology startup Hyperfine. Jaime Waydo, a senior director who led the safety and regulation group, left in February to become chief technical officer at Cavnue, a company focused on the safety of self-driving vehicles on public roads.

How, exactly, Apple intends to pierce the autonomous vehicle market remains vague. But the company continues to recruit auto industry experts, according to Bloomberg.

Finally, The Hollywood Reporter cited Wedbush analyst Dan Ives who said that “Apple has made a major strategic mistake not buying a Hollywood studio while Amazon, Disney, Netflix and others run away with content.” Ives had in mind Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM Studios. “Content is king,” said Ives, “and Apple built a mansion with hardly any furniture in it. MGM was a no-brainer acquisition for Apple, and they missed a huge opportunity.”