Apple expects to increase headcount this year, while fighting off legal challenges and coming to terms with a lock-in application development environment that could stifle growth in its App Store, according to the firm's latest SEC filing.
The company said in its annual 10-K filing that it had 317 retail stores at the end of September, including 233 in the US, and has increased its headcount to around 46,600 full-time employees, up from 34,300 a year ago and 32,000 in 2008.
This growth has come during tough financial times, the company said, during which Apple has grown revenues while dealing with stiff competition and legal challenges.
"Apple expects competition in these industries to intensify significantly as competitors attempt to imitate some of the iPhone and iPad features and applications within their own products, or collaborate with each other to offer solutions that are more competitive than those they currently offer," reads the filing.
One thing that seems counterproductive to fighting off this competition is the tight control Apple exerts over its App Store and the software it provides. The company has been criticised for this in the past, and seems to acknowledge the problem.
"Unlike third-party software apps for Mac products, the apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch platforms are distributed through a single channel, the App Store," said the filing.
"The absence of multiple distribution channels, which are available for competing platforms, may limit the availability and acceptance of third-party apps by Apple's customers, thereby causing developers to curtail significantly, or stop, development for Apple platforms."
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