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The Win or Lose Game of the App Stores... Mostly Lose

Pages and Pages of Apps - but which did I pay for? (You win if you answer, "None".)
I’ve been reading a lot of articles and talking to a few entrepreneurs lately, and the themes are very similar – today’s tech businesses are rarely successful… only the platforms win in the long-run. That is, platforms like Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SAP, etc. This isn’t contrary to what “Who’s poised to profit in this fragmented, online dating world of startups?” back from March.

TechCrunch posted yesterday “The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable”. In it, the article talks about:
  • 50% of iOS developers operate at $500 per month (per app). That’s 64% for Android developers
  • 1.6% of developers make more than $500K per month

There’s obviously a lot more in the article. It’s interesting, though, because you have to wonder how many of these apps they deem as “Have Nothings” or otherwise are not revenues from the app store itself (vis-à-vis selling the app), but instead, on a subscription model or otherwise on the backend not necessarily privy to TechCrunch’s article.
You can see the large disparities of the app revenues between iOS and Android
Further, the article does address how many apps are potentially hobbies for developers or even first-time apps letting developers practice and get their feet wet. From this standpoint, it’s also easier to see why in the article, monetarily, iOS dominates as a percentage. Pushing out MVPs or ideas on Android is simple and easy. iOS apps require a heck of a lot more curation before being published on the iTunes store. There are guidelines around styles (what kind of font, where to place buttons, etc.) in addition to things like having a Dun & Bradstreet Number that must be provided and adhered to before publishing on iTunes.
Then again, iOS buyers tend to be higher earners anyways. So… there’s that, too.
What's your exit strategy?
TechCrunch goes on to talk about how most startups these days are really looking to be acquired rather than build sustained businesses. I can see that, too. Everyone’s always talking about liquidity events. “What’s your exit strategy?” is one of the most common questions you’ll get asked as an entrepreneur. Afterall, investors are looking for returns on their funds, not necessarily to “change the world” as so many say they want to.

What are your thoughts on the success on the app stores? How would you describe the disparities between the litany of apps for success and otherwise?

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