Apple rejects a large percentage of App Store submissions, CEO Tim Cook said Monday, arguing that the company’s strict oversight is necessary to keep iPhones secure.
He was responding to questions about moves by government regulators around the world that might result on Apple being forced to allow rival iPhone software stores.
Cook spoke on Monday’s episode of the Sway podcast from The New York Times.
Running the App Store is hard
He pointed out that running an iPhone software store isn’t easy.
“In any given week, 100,000 applications come into the app review,” Cook said. “40,000 of them are rejected. Most of them are rejected because they don’t work or don’t work like they say that they work. You can imagine if curation went away, what would occur to the App Store in a very short amount of time.”
Kara Swisher, who hosts the Sway podcast, then asked why there couldn’t be app stores run by other companies or organizations. Cook’s response is essentially that Apple created the iPhone app ecosystem, and it deserves to profit from it.
“Apple has helped build an economy that’s over a half a trillion dollars a year, half a trillion, and takes a very small sliver of that for the innovation that it unleashed and the expense of running the store,” said the CEO.
Cook: Apple isn’t a burden on app developers
Cook also argued that Apple’s cut of App Store revenue isn’t egregious.
“Like, 85% of people pay zero commission,” he said. “And then with our recent move with small developers, developers earning less than a million dollars a year pay 15%. Well, it turns out that that’s the vast majority of developers.”
Cook remains absolutely opposed to allowing users to install applications directly. “If you had side-loading, you would break the privacy and security model,” he said.
Still, he says the App Store is open to change. “The App Store is not cast in concrete, you know?” he said. “And so we’ve changed over time.”
Cook’s interview with Swisher covered many other topics, like the Apple Car, augmented reality, Apple TV+ and privacy.