Modern digital platforms succeed or fail on the backs of developers. Just ask Steve Balmer. For every Android out there, there was a WebOS. Companies can make it easier or harder to develop for their platforms, but ultimately it's up to the developers to build it so that "they" — the customers — can come. On that note, Google has just announced that developers worldwide have made over $80 billion via Google Play.
In isolation, it's a good number. But compared to the competition, not so much.
Today, @sundarpichai shared that developers around the world (excl. China) have earned more than $80 billion to date on @GooglePlay. Our platform can’t succeed without the help of our developer ecosystem, so a huge thank you for all you do!
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) February 4, 2020
The news comes courtesy, in one route, of Google senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer, tweeting it out following an earlier announcement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai during Google's earnings call. $80 billion might sound like a lot, and for developers making use of Google's Play Store to distribute their apps and services it is, but objectively speaking, it's actually pretty far behind what Apple has likely achieved.
That isn't a guess: Apple passed the $100 billion barrier all the way back in 2018, breaking the news at that year's WWDC keynote. Just the year before, it hit $70 billion, and even last year, Apple was still trouncing Google by a substantial margin in developer payouts, with analysts estimating a nearly 80% difference between the two in the first half of 2019.
Play Store developers are clearly making money, and thanks to Google, at least $80 billion has made its way into their collective pockets (after Google took almost a third off the top, anyway) but Apple's App Store developers are still making more.