It’s Apple vs Amazon and, by at least one important measure, iTunes is the big winner. Really? That’s crazy talk! While Jeff Bezos’ “everything store” sells more things, Tim Cook’s iTunes Store leads where it matter most — active accounts with credit cards attached.
Last week, when Apple reported yet another stellar quarter, CEO Tim Cook mentioned that there are now more than 800 million iTunes Store accounts, the majority of which bill directly to a credit card.
While Cook didn’t say whether that majority was 51 percent or even 99 percent, at the very least, the iTunes Store has at least 400 million credit card enabled accounts. Regardless, Apple has twice as many credit card accounts as Amazon.
A comparison of iTunes accounts and Amazon Active Accounts. pic.twitter.com/ClLPUvserV
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) April 28, 2014
While Apple vs Amazon has emotional resonance, the real meaning of this battle for 21st Century retail dominance is more subtle. For example, Tim Cook has been guiding Apple steadily toward offering a full service online payment service.
Apple vs Amazon: Data Points
More useless information designed to drive your imagination? Amazon’s calendar Q1 2014 revenue of $19.7 billion was roughly four iTunes Store receipts of $4.5 billion. However, Apple’s total take was for the first three months of 2014 was $45.6 billion.
For example, in addition to all of those iTunes accounts, Apple also runs its own swipeless check out service for its own brick n’ mortar stores. The company also has also partnered with Square and others for swipeless transactions at Starbucks and other retailers.
Though not a payment system per se, Apple’s iBeacon retail customer and information kiosking system is another way the company is ingratiating itself into retail.
Is iTunes really winning or is Amazon just getting warmed up?