What Does Apple Stand to Gain from Merging Apps?


Mar. 1 2019, Updated 8:12 a.m. ET

Removing barriers for developers

Apple (AAPL) has long considered letting developers build an app once and have it run on any of its devices. Toward this end, Apple has launched an initiative to merge existing iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer apps. Apple hopes to complete the project by 2021, according to a Bloomberg report.

Currently, it takes a lot of time and effort on the developer side to modify an app that was originally built for an iPhone to run on a Mac computer. By letting developers create an app once and have it work across different devices, Apple hopes to attract more developers to its platform and in turn boost its app revenue.

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Apple made nearly $47 billion in app sales in 2018

The app sale is a big business for Apple, which explains why the company would want to be the platform of choice for developers. App-related sales on Apple’s platforms hit $46.6 billion in 2018, up from $38.7 billion in 2017, according to Sensor Tower estimates. Apple takes a cut of revenue that developers make from app sales through its platform. Worldwide spending on apps rose to $71.3 billion in 2018 from $58.1 billion in 2017. As the app market expands, competition is getting tight among app distributors like Apple, Google (GOOGL), and Microsoft (MSFT) to attract app developers to their platforms.

For social networking companies like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR), Apple’s initiative to merge apps could save them time and money when releasing app updates for different Apple devices.


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