Developers to App Stores: Show Us the Money!

In an Evans Data study, most developers surveyed say they are dissatisfied with the 30/70 split they get from developing applications for popular app stores.

In a recent Evans Data study, a large majority of surveyed developers said they are dissatisfied with the 30/70 split they get from developing applications for popular app stores.

In its Spring North American Development Survey, Evans Data found that 80 percent of surveyed developers in North America said they think they should receive more than 70 percent of the revenue generated by their applications in an app store.

Evans Data surveyed more than 490 developers to get their perspective. Only 15 percent of respondents said they preferred app stores as the distribution model for their applications. Yet, more than half of the developers said they prefer direct sales to end users or enterprises as the distribution model for applications.

The app store model became popular with Apple's iPhone and has emerged on several other platforms, including those from other smartphone providers and carriers. The app stores give developers, particularly small developers and one-person shops, access to a vast network of potential customers. App store operators obviously believe the power of their distribution channel warrants the 30 percent fee they charge. However, as this Evans Data study shows, many developers believe they should get a larger chunk of the revenue from their applications.

Moreover, the Evans Data survey revealed that developers also take issue with the restrictions imposed by app stores on price and content. More than 70 percent of respondents said they thought app stores should not impose any restrictions on price, and while a third thought content restrictions were acceptable, almost half thought there should be none at all.

"Virtually all of the best known app stores have fallen in line directly with the 30/70 revenue split that Apple introduced, but there could be a big upside for any vendor bold enough to deviate," Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, said in a statement. "If the app store is more a strategic asset than a revenue center, then providing the developer with a better revenue share model could go a long way toward promotion of that particular distribution channel and thus growth of market share for a technology."

Another highlight of the survey was that 10 percent of respondents said they currently use Objective C, the primary language used to develop applications for Apple's iPhone and other products such as the Mac, iPad and iPod-and that number is expected to grow to almost 12 percent in 2011.

In addition, 36 percent of developers surveyed said they plan to include services that communicate with messages formally defined via XML Schema, and 64 percent said they use agile development techniques at least some of the time.

The Spring North American Development Survey is the latest in a 12-year series of surveys of developers in North America by Evans Data.