Apple's App Store Ranked Best of Mobile App Stores by ABI Research
In free downloads, Apple's store led slightly, but Google Play grew by 48 percent for the year to date, compared with just 3.3 percent growth for iOS, according to the report. The Google Play Store was only officially created in March to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and the Google e-Bookstore sites. One reason for Apple's revenue lead in the stores race is that it is easier for consumers to make purchases through the Apple Store than through Google Play, according to App Annie. Also, although more than 500 million Android devices have been activated around the world so far, many of those devices are cheap ones that don't allow users to download and use apps effectively, which reduces the potential sales for Google Play. Earlier in November 2012, Google bolstered its Play Store by securing a licensing deal to add 5.5 million musical works from 35 countries around the world to its music download service. The accord with Armonia, the alliance of French, Italian and Spanish licensing groups, means that Google and Android can offer more content to its customers.According to Google, it reached the 1 billion Android app download mark in mid-2010, while it hit the 2 billion app download mark in mid-2011. That number soared to 10 billion by the end of 2011, then to 15 billion in early 2012, before soaring again to 25 million in September. Apple's App Store just celebrated its fourth birthday in July and now includes more than 567,000 applications for the iPhone and 236,000 for the iPad, as of June. The App Store started with 500 apps in July 2008 when it was launched. Google Play has been Google's answer to the App Store, as both companies are locked in a fierce battle for the lion's share of the mobile-device market. Google also faces a rising threat from Microsoft, which launched its Surface tablets in October.
In September 2012, Google's Play Store attained an impressive milestone when it reached the 25 billion download mark for content purchased through the store—after only six months of sales.