Top Apple Exec Points To Steve Jobs Era For Lack Of Meeting Records, Expresses Uncertainty About App Store's Profitability

One of Apple Inc.'s AAPL top executives, Phil Schiller, admitted in court that he is unsure if the App Store is profitable. Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, could be the reason behind Schiller's uncertainty.

What Happened: Schiller, who has been with the App Store since its inception, testified that he never considered the return on investment (ROI) when launching the store, reported 9to5Mac. He also stated that Apple does not record minutes of meetings between senior executives.

This revelation came as part of an antitrust case against Apple in Australia.

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When asked if he had any idea whether the App Store was profitable, Schiller replied, “I believe it is [profitable]," when probed by Epic Games' lawyer.

However, he clarified that profit is not a specific financial metric that he focuses on.

Instead, the team at Apple measures performance using metrics like billings, accounts, and subscriptions.

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He also admitted that financial measures such as cash flow forecasts, return on investment (ROI,) and net present value (NPV) were not specific metrics that Apple paid much attention to when deciding to charge a 30% commission on the revenues of app developers selling their apps and services through the App Store.

When questioned about the lack of written records of decisions made by senior executives, Schiller attributed this to a directive from Jobs in 1997.

Jobs had stated that taking meeting notes was unnecessary, and this practice continues at Apple’s most senior levels to this day.

Why It Matters: This testimony comes amidst a global debate about Apple’s App Store policies.

The company has been facing legal challenges from various quarters, including a high-profile case with Epic Games, which accused Apple of using its monopoly control over the sale of iPhone apps to maximize its own profits at the expense of developers.

Apple’s App Store policies have also been criticized by other tech giants. For example, Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined Microsoft Corp. in criticizing Apple’s Alternative App Store proposal for European Union users.

These legal battles and criticisms have put a spotlight on Apple’s App Store policies and the impact they have on developers and the company’s profitability.

Schiller’s testimony, in this case, raises further questions about Apple’s approach to measuring and managing the App Store’s financial performance.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

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