BlueStacks Business Model – How Does BlueStacks Work and Make Money?

BlueStacks Business Model

BlueStacks is an American technology company well-known for its BlueStacks App Player. Apart from that, the company also offers various cloud-based cross-platform products. Initially, it garnered attention through its BlueStacks App Player, which allowed Android apps to run on PCs. This software was available for Windows and macOS. Currently, it is still active and provides the same features. Over the years, BlueStacks has also kept updating its software.

What is BlueStacks?

While BlueStacks is also the company behind the app, the name is more synonymous with the software. It is an emulator that allows Mac and Windows PCs to run Android apps. Essentially, it creates a virtual Android device that runs all features that come on those phones. Although it does not support all apps, it can emulate 97% of the apps available on the Google Play Store.

BlueStacks started its operations in 2008 under Rosen Sharma, Jay Vaishnav and Suman Saraf. The founders are Indians who have experience in relevant fields. Primarily, Sharma was the lead founder. He graduated from IIT Delhi and received a Computer Science PhD from Cornell and Stanford. His expertise in computer science helped the company create a base for the BlueStacks app.

While he was at Stanford, Sharma started his first company called VxTreme. The company developed and offered streaming media solutions. Later, it got acquired by Microsoft. Sharma was also part of other startups throughout the years. In 2010, he joined McAfee, the software security company. It is also where he met his co-founders, Vaishnav and Saraf. Both of them also held senior roles at the company.

The founders started working on BlueStacks while at McAfee. However, it took them a long time to develop the first version of their app. In 2011, they unveiled the demo version to the public. At the time, Android was becoming the dominant OS in the mobile market. The platform had some apps which were not available to Windows and Mac users. The founders took the opportunity to cater to the needs of those users.

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After releasing the first alpha version for BlueStacks, the founders scored $8.7 million in funding. One of the contributing factors was the impressive resumes the founders offered. Later, they received even more funds through another round of funding. This time, they got investments from companies like AMD, Citrix Systems and their existing investors. By December 2011, the app had accumulated over 550,000 users.

Over the years, BlueStacks continued innovating its product. The founders also released a Mac version of their app, which was well-received. Similarly, it introduced various partnerships through the years. For example, they partnered with AMD to optimize BlueStacks for AMD GPUs and APUs. On top of that, it also introduced other products. However, they did not receive the same attention as the BlueStacks app.

How does BlueStacks work?

BlueStacks allows users to download and run most Android apps and games. However, the process requires several steps that users must complete first. The first requires them to get the app from the official website. BlueStacks is available for download for Windows and Mac through an installer. Once users download the setup file, they must install it on their boot drive.

Once they install the app, users must turn on Virtualization on their machine. This option is necessary to allow BlueStacks to take advantage of hardware virtualization technology. However, this process differs from one PC to another. Users must consult their manual or search for their related setup online. However, turning on Virtualization is not critical in letting the app work. Users can also use BlueStacks without it.

Either way, users can open the BlueStacks app, which they installed on their machine. After that, they must log in to their Google account. This process is similar to setting up other Android phones or tablets. This feature allows users to use their Google Play account to install their purchased apps without issues. Once they go through the initial process, they will get redirected to the BlueStacks home screen.

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The BlueStacks home screen emulates Android setups. It includes a Google Play Store icon, a user’s installed apps and recommended apps. On top of that, it also shows BlueStacks specific settings in the menu bar. Users can launch apps or download them through the Google Play Store. On top of that, users can also install .APK files directly from downloaded files.

Once users launch an app, they will also get more controls to configure various features. These may include device orientation, title controls, mapping key bindings, etc. Similarly, BlueStacks provides mouse elements of the touch screen. Apart from that, BlueStacks stacks also come with a Media Manager feature. It allows users to transfer files between their devices and BlueStacks.

What is the BlueStacks business model?

The BlueStacks describes the tools that the company uses to make money. Primarily, BlueStacks offers software that provides the income that funds its operations. As mentioned above, this software allows users to run Android apps on their Windows or Mac devices. However, the BlueStacks app comes for free. Instead, the company uses other business models to make money.

The primary income source for BlueStacks is advertising income. The company uses its software to advertise content to users. Consequently, the advertising business model allows BlueStacks to make money from various partners and advertisers. This advertising comes through promoting games through the BlueStacks app. Therefore, it is also similar to an affiliate marketing business model.

BlueStacks also make money from referral fees. Therefore, it uses a referral business model to make money through its app. The company partners with Google to make money every time a user purchases a paid app. This feature also makes the BlueStacks business model similar to affiliate marketing. However, BlueStacks does not provide any recommendations for those apps.

Lastly, BlueStacks also uses an advertising business model. Although not as prominent as the other models, BlueStacks makes money through advertisements. However, the BlueStacks app provides the platform where to show these ads. In contrast, BlueStacks uses its YouTube channel to make money through ads.

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How does BlueStacks make money?

BlueStacks makes money through its app. When a user downloads and installs its app, they also provide the source for the company to generate revenues. From the above explanation of the BlueStacks business model, these revenue sources should be apparent. BlueStacks makes money from recommendations, referral fees and advertising income.


As mentioned above, BlueStacks makes money by promoting games within its platforms. The app provides the platform for the company to recommend games to its users. In exchange, the company makes money from the game developers. However, BlueStacks does not disclose the fee it charges from those developers. Once users download the game on BlueStacks, the company receives money.

Referral fees

BlueStacks also make money from referral fees, which it receives from Google. The company allows users to access the Play Store through its app. Essentially, it provides the same features as any other Android phone. Every time a user buys a paid app, BlueStacks receives money from Google. However, the company does not disclose the charge for each app download.

Advertising income

BlueStacks also has an official YouTube channel with over 102k subscribers. The company participates in the YouTube monetization program. Essentially, it allows BlueStacks to post ads and generate income from them. The company does not have a special deal with YouTube. However, it receives 55% of the ad revenues every time a user watches an ad on a BlueStacks video.


BlueStacks has garnered significant attention for its Android emulator for Windows and Mac. The company has provided a unique app, allowing it to make money. Primarily, BlueStacks uses an affiliate marketing business model. Apart from that, the company also generates revenues from other sources. Some of the ways BlueStacks makes money include recommendations, referral fees and advertising income.

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