App wars: iOS and Android neck and neck

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40 billion apps, 7 billion dollars and a quarter of a million different apps for iOS — those are the numbers Apple is touting this week. The company says that users have downloaded 40 billion iOS apps to date, with almost half of those downloads occurring last year, and 2 billion happening in December alone. There are now more 775,000 unique apps for iOS, and they have earned their developers $7 billion.

Apple has continued to dominate Android in mobile apps, even though Android phones and tablets are now outselling iPhones and iPads. iPhone and iPad users tend to be more affluent, and thus more likely to download software for their devices. But Android may be catching up. The Google Play store now has almost as many apps as iTunes has, and in November IHS iSuppli predicted 20 billion downloads from the Google Play store for 2012 – the same number Apple is claiming.

But Apple’s customers are apparently willing to pay a little more for their apps – the same IHS iSuppli report found that as of November, Apple’s App store had generated $2.53 bilion, while the Google Play store had earned $1.68 billion. Those numbers do not include revenue earned by Android apps sold outside the Google Play store. Amazon, for example, has a robust Android app store created to support its Kindle Fire products, and recently won the right to continue using the name ‘app store’ despite Apple’s efforts to reserve the name of its own apps.

Microsoft lags far behind in terms of app development for its Windows mobile operating system. Last summer, the Windows Phone platform crossed the 100,000 app threshhold, and now Microsoft is busy encouraging developers to create apps for its new Windows 8 operating system. Unlike iOS and Android, Windows 8 has built-in advertising for many of its apps.

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About Author

Martha DeGrasse

Editor, Wireless Infrastructure
[email protected]
Martha DeGrasse is an editor at RCR Wireless News, and is the creator of the RCR Mobile Minute. Martha has been with RCR Wireless News since 2011. Her current focus areas are wireless infrastructure and heterogeneous networks. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her at Twitter @mdegrasseRCR