Apple says it has helped create over a million European jobs

Is job creation the same as tax?

Apple’s relationship with Europe intensified this morning, as the company announced its new App Development Center in Italy and revealed previously unseen data exploring the impact of the App economy on European employment.


It is interesting to note the claims on job creation come as European tax authorities continue to consider how much tax the company owes in the region. Apple claims to have helped create well over a million jobs across Europe.

App economy jobs were explored in a Progressive Policy Institute published this morning.

PPI chief economic strategist Dr. Michael Mandel observes: “Before Apple opened the App Store in July 2008, there was no such thing as an App Economy job. No employer was posting want ads looking for iOS or Android developers; no one was talking about the shortage of mobile app coders.  This has been an incredibly rapid transformation of the job market, paralleling the astounding growth of smartphone usage.”

Apple’s own data claim it has nurtured 242,000 App economy jobs in the UK alone, along with 209,000 in Germany, 163,000 in France and 96,000 in the Netherlands.

App economy

Now, you can take these claims with a pinch of salt (I know I do), but Apple also claims to employ 6,500 people in the UK directly. It also cites 646,000 registered developers in the UK, though how many of those are Apple fans happy to pay $99 per year to get early access to OS enhancements is difficult to estimate.

What’s most important is the bottom line: European developers have earned over €10.2 billion (over $11 billion) from app sales, Apple claims. In fairness, we should note that Apple receives 30% of app sale revenues.

“As of January 2016, we estimate that 75% of App Economy workers in Europe (1.2 million jobs) belong to the iOS ecosystem. This includes iOS specific jobs as well as jobs supporting a combination of iOS and other platforms,” Dr. Mandel observes.

Apple isn’t unique: Android also accounts for 75% of App Economy roles, the PPI said. In contrast, Windows Phone/Mobile accounts for just 9% of these roles while BlackBerry accounts for 6%. These numbers reflect the real world situation in which many developers work across multiple platforms (explanation here).

Rapid evolution

It is remarkable to note that the mobile App Economy did not exist just a few years ago. This phenomenal growth reflects a reality in which the impact of digital transformation has been immense. This isn’t just about creating games and entertainment experiences, but also includes a range of incredibly specialized solutions for mobile business and beyond. The rate of change is incredibly -- incredibly -- rapid. Similar data claimed 530,000 App Economy jobs in February 2015today there are 1.2 million.

This is just the tip of it.

The PPI report (and myself) imagine rapid growth will continue as mobile connected intelligence proliferates across ever more parts of daily life, in the office, home, car, health, infrastructure, energy and beyond. To enable their populations to profit from this opportunity, governments must encourage us to learn the skills required to participate in this change. Shamefully, the UK government this week disincentivized young people in the UK from taking such a step by cutting student funding once again. The UK economy will pay for this gross error for generations to come.


Announced this morning, Apple’s first European iOS App Development Centre in Naples, Italy aims to help stimulate the App economy by offering practical skills and training in iOS app development.

“Europe is home to some of the most creative developers in the world and we’re thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The phenomenal success of the App Store is one of the driving forces behind the more than 1.4 million jobs Apple has created in Europe and presents unlimited opportunities for people of all ages and businesses of all sizes across the continent.”

Apple’s European relationships also extends to component design, from the UK’s ARM (which develops the reference designs iOS device chips are based on) to Italy’s Laboratorio Elettrofisico, which makes sophisticated magnetization equipment used in some Apple products.

It remains an open question as to whether Apple’s deep relationships with Europe will be seen as enough of a contribution to national economies, or whether additional tax is also due.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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