App Store operates "a bit over break-even" for Apple suggests analyst

Apple has been gleefully shouting about some of their more eye-catching figures of recent months – 3m iPads sold, one billion dollars paid out to developers as their share of the App Store tithe – which has left analysts wondering about some of the numbers they're not announcing.  Piper Jaffray took Steve Jobs' sparse figures from the WWDC 2010 keynote and did some sums to work out exactly how much profit Apple took away.  The answer, analyst Gene Munster reckons, is just $189m gross.

Now, $189m may sound like plenty, but it's a drop in the ocean compared to the £33.7bn in gross profit Apple has made over the same period.  In fact, Munster reckons Apple operates the software download store at "a bit over break-even", once you factor in the costs involved in launching and operating it.  His conclusion is that the Cupertino company still see the App Store as a secondary business, the main purpose of which is to act as a halo for their iPhone and other iOS devices and better differentiate them from rival products.