Tapulous Making $1 Million a Month in App Store, Even Apple Didn't Expect App Store Success


Making our collective jaws drop today is Tapulous, who are claiming sales approaching $1,000,000 (that's on million) dollars a month, and news that even those Apple had no conception of just how successful the iPhone app ecosystem would be.

First, Reuters reports that Tap Tap Revenge maker Tapulous, a 20-person iPhone development team, has seen 20 million installs and 600 millions games played, adding up to sales approaching $1 million a month.

Tapulous' chief executive said he expects it to ride a wave of exponential growth in mobile app commerce in the next two years, similar to that seen recently by social gaming companies like Zynga, Playfish and Playdom. Playfish was recently acquired by Electronic Arts for $275 million in cash.

Second, the Financial Times reports that even insiders weren't expecting this level of success. Says Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy, manager of the then $100m iFund announced alongside the original iPhone SDK:

"We had no idea there would be 2bn downloads by October. Most people within Apple, if you had told them it would be a fifth of that by now, they would have been pretty happy."

Part of this is attributed to Steve Jobs, of course:

Even more important was Mr Jobs’ willingness to demand that AT&T and other network carriers give up control over what sorts of programmes could operate over their airwaves. He argued that the iPhone was a computer, not a phone, and that consumers expected to be able to do many things with computers. History had shown that this kind of freedom was what drove the more profitable “ecosystems” of computers – where sales of hardware were dependent on a wide variety of useable software.

So, remove the carriers, treat smartphones like real, mobile computing platforms, and everyone (mostly) benefits? Who could have imagined that?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

Real Truth says:

If their sales approach $1M per month then Tapulous' cut approaches $700K, but what's $300K among friends ;)

Brad Zimmerman says:

How deliciously ironic that the horse's mouth is attributed with the comment that the iPhone should be treated as a computer... When those that do so, by jailbreaking and running SSH, scripts off the command line, tweaking and customizing to their heart's content... are told that what they are doing with their COMPUTER is ILLEGAL.
Jobs, if he said that the iPhone should be treated like a computer, IS correct. It should be sold with iPhone OS configured as 90 percent of Apple's customers will use it, e.g. as it currently is. However, Apple should NOT be making it difficult to customize it and really dig into it. Let people tweak it; they aren't the bulk of Apple's customers and they more or less know that they're "on their own".
I love my iPhone and my MBP but this comment is really irritating. Apple wants it both ways but can't have it both ways so they just keep being bloody minded bastards about the whole thing.

Dan says:

Gee why didnt i think of that.

Mystic says:

Some people are so easily irritated. Try WM or Symbian, then you'll know the meaning of irritation.

Andrew de Ridder says:

@Brad Zimmerman
Apple doesn't stop anybody from jail-breaking. They have not even shut down any compony, organization or person who is promoting jail-breaking. Apple and app publishers/developers don't SUPPORT jail-breaking. If you do hack your phone, you are on your own.

fassy says:

Brad did not say Apple has gone after jailbreakers, just that Apple tells people that (in their opinion) jailbreaking is illegal. This in correct; Apple formally submitted this opinion to the US copyright office in late 2008:

Pinny says:

@BradZimmerman Very good point!

tweger01 says:

I hope those guys are saving their money!

miked says:

I'm in the wrong business...should have been an iphone app developer :(

icebike says:

I've noticed this trend lately in the press and people's quotations, and Time Mag, etc of "All Things to Chairman Steve" sort of accolades.
Is the word out in private circles that Steve is on his death bed or something?
Usually when even your competitors start speaking in saintly worshipful tones its cuz they know something the rest of us have to guess about.

Blake0767 says:

Apple doesn't make as much money on Jailbreakers...it's a business. I don't blame them at all. If I want to jailbreak I can. I like having options...

Brainiac 5 says:

The kudos for treating smartphones like real, mobile computing platforms is interesting, because Apple doesn't do that to nearly the extent that previous companies in the smartphone business did (and do). For instance, Palm with Palm OS, Microsoft(!), or Symbian. Those platforms work just like a computer - if want to write software for them, you just write it and sell it however you want. The App Store is very convenient, but it makes things quite different from a desktop computer - there's only one place to buy software, and they have control over what software you can sell.

Joe McG says:

I don't understand why people are taking every opportunity to stroke Steve Jobs. Obviously tappulous made a great set of apps that people really like. Let's give tappulous their props. However, I do believe a company like this is a house of cards. They could be bankrupt and forgotten a year or two from now.

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