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Monday, December 21, 2009, 06:55 am PT (09:55 am ET)

Apple surprised by App Store success as Tapulous claims $1M/mo

iPhone game maker Tapulous now earns nearly $1 million per month in sales from the App Store. It's just another example of the store's incredible success — which allegedly even caught Apple off guard.

In September, Apple announced that total downloads on the App Store had topped 2 billion. In profiling the success of the App Store, the Financial Times spoke with Matt Murphy, partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm that created the first investment fund for iPhone developers, worth more than $100 million.

"We had no idea there would be 2 billion downloads by October," Murphy said. "Most people within Apple, if you had told them it would be a fifth of that by now, they would have been pretty happy."

The App Store achieved a number of milestones in 2009, including in November when Apple announced that the digital download destination had more than 100,000 applications available. The six-figure accomplishment was achieved less than a year and a half after the App Store debuted.

Earlier this month, Apple promoted a list of the best-selling and best-reviewed iPhone and iPod touch applications of the year in its iTunes Rewind 2009 feature. Among the "Best of 2009" was Tap Tap Revenge 3, from development studio Tapulous. The $0.99 rhythm game (iTunes link) has more than 20 million downloads, and the developer claims it is the most popular on the platform.

The Tap Tap series has produced a number of artist-specific spinoffs, with top-tier names like Metallica, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Weezer and Lady Gaga. The company found quick success, achieving more than a million downloads in its first three weeks. Through 2009, despite the entrance of big game publishers, the independent studio managed to maintain its success.

Tapulous was profiled by Reuters this weekend, which revealed that its sales have approached $1 million per month. The company, which says it is profitable, has also raised $2.8 million from investors. Chief Executive Bart Decrem said he expects his company to continue to grow as the iPhone and iPod touch platform continues to expand.

"It's going to be big and all of a sudden people are going to say, 'Holy cow, where did those guys come from?'" Decrem reportedly said.