Apple's quarterly earnings may be stagnant, but at least one division within the company is showing extraordinary growth. As noted by Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, Apple's iTunes/Software/Services division grew by 34 percent year-over-year after taking into account the 70% Apple pays to developers for App Store purchases.
Dediu estimates that Apple's gross revenues from the iTunes/Software/Services group are almost $7 billion per quarter, with a total of $23.5 billion for 2013. This includes growth categories such as third-party content (+46.6 percent), Services (+37 percent) and apps, which grew 105 percent year-over-year. This division is remarkable when compared to rival Google and other Fortune 500 companies.
Although iTunes/Software/Services are not usually included in a “sum-of-the-parts” total contributing to Apple’s overall enterprise value, the scale of volume and value of transactions is becoming harder to ignore.
To illustrate this, I plotted the history of gross iTunes revenues vs. Google’s search business.
On a yearly basis iTunes/Software/Services is nearly half of Google’s core business and growing slightly faster.
The iTunes “empire” of content and services would be ranked as number 130 in the Fortune 500 ranking of companies (slightly below Alcoa and above Eli Lilly).
Despite reporting its highest revenue ever and its best quarterly sales for the iPhone, iPad and Mac, Apple is still under fire for not being a growth company. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tim Cook argued that Apple is still growing, just at a slower rate, and said the company has significant opportunities in both existing and new product categories.