iTunes software and services fastest growing part of Apple’s business this year

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During Apple’s Q3 earnings call this afternoon, Tim Cook praised the success of its iTunes software and services arm. The CEO said the division was the fastest-growing of the company’s business in the first 9 months of its fiscal year 2014.

The segment generated $4.5 billion in revenue during the 3-month period, an increase of 12% YoY (or year over year). And Cook attributed the growth to a number of factors, including growing interest in China and strong App Store numbers…

Among those numbers are accumulative app downloads, which recently crossed the 75 billion mark. Cook also said that Apple has now paid out a total of $20 billion to developers, which is up $5 billion from the amount he gave back in January.

Tim predicts that the growth will continue, and possibly even accelerate, after Apple releases iOS 8 this year. The update offers new platforms with HealthKit and HomeKit, 4000+ new APIs, and several other things that should appease developers.

For a while now, Apple’s iTunes segment has been seen as a sleeping giant by many pundits. While others are worried about iPhone and iPad growth, the software and services division has been flying under the radar, nearly doubling year over year.

Apple announced earlier this year that it has more than 800 million iTunes accounts, which is believed to be one of the largest credit card hubs in existence.