Having surpassed the one billion downloads milestone recently, you’d think Apple is raking in big bucks from its App Store. That may not necessarily be the case, though, when you factor in the amount of free apps available and the percent that Apple actually takes from paid programs.
According to the latest estimates from Lightspeed Venture Partners, the amount of free downloads outnumber paid downloads by anywhere from 15:1 to 40:1; which translates to something in the range of 25 to 60 million paid apps. If Apple gets a 30 percent cut of all of those apps, which sell at a median of $2.65 according to recent O’Reilly survey, the company has made somewhere in the range of $20 to $45 million.
While that is certainly nothing to sneeze, it’s not exactly an astronomical number for a company whose last reported financial results saw revenue of $8.16 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion. That said, Apple has always maintained that the App Store isn't meant as a profit generator but rather as a means of attracting customers to the iPhone and iPod touch, where the majority of the profit are.