March 20, 2019

Apple Store or Google Play: who wins the app war?

As the world continues to go mobile and millions of Apps continues to proliferate on cyberspace, there seems to be a new tug of war between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

This silent war could be likened to the cold war between United States and USSR that dominated our political space until the demise of the latter. Although there is no risk of nuclear bombs being dropped on anybody, however, there is still an aggressive App war going on between these two software giants as they try to outsmart one another.

Apple’s iOS arrived the scene much earlier than Google’s Android when it launched its app store around the middle of 2008, 10th of June precisely and with just 500 apps. At that time, the big players like Microsoft and Palm already had massive stores brimming with tens of thousands of apps respectively. At that point in time, Apple’s iOS was definitely a midget against giants but it soon became obvious as reality unfolded, that it was a case of David and Goliath.
Before the giants could decipher what was really going on, Apple went viral with a collossal figure that surged to ten million downloads within seven days, the numbers skyrocketed to over 100 million downloads within a quarter and then a record 1.5 billion downloads in a year!

History Repeating itself

It’s charismatic owner, the late Steve Jobs while revelling in the euphoria of their blistering run had made a statement that was similar both in the pride and confidence it exuded with that of the makers of the famous Titanic ship.
While the ship builders had said that the Titanic was not just the worlds largest ship but also the safest because it was unsinkable! The Apple owner on his own had said it was going to be very hard for any other rival to catch up with Apple’s staggering numbers or established dominance in the app ecosystem. Just like the builders of the Titanic ship who where absolutely sure on the safety of their gigantic ship based on their analysis, Steve Jobs was also certain that no other app company could ever catch up or outpace Apple in the foreseeable future based on their massive numbers of downloads and intimidating growth trajectory.

Google play was initially released on October 8 2008 and by the 6th of March 2012, it successfully combined its Android market, music and eBookstore. With 2300 Apps available for downloads as at March 2009, it grew to 16,000 by December of 2009 and 100,000 by October. By May of 2010, it had grown to 200,000 Apps available on its store with a total of 4.5 billion Apps already downloaded by customers . By June 2012, the store has ballooned to 600,000 Apps for download while a whopping 20 billion have been sucked up by individuals globally.

Google play reached a milestone of one million Apps available in the store by July of 2013 while a staggering 50 billion Apps have already been downloaded cummulatively and for the very first time, Google play was able to surpass Apple’s iOS in terms of available Apps on their store while their cumulative downloads remained about the same. Although Steve Jobs didn’t live to see Google make a mince meat of his prediction with Apple, however, he must have seen the signs on the wall about Google’s unnerving encroachment into his fortress.

It has since become a two horse race between these two software giants of the mobile App ecosystem as they breath down on each other while the laggards like Amazon and Microsoft among others now seem to be jokers. App developers are spoilt for choice on where to pitch their tenth between these two rival platforms unlike before when Apple had no credible rival. While Apple’s iOS appears to have an edge over Android in the United States and Europe, the latter seems to be making the most out of its relatively cheaper devices in the developing countries/emerging markets like India, South east Asia, Africa, Latin America etc.

What Current statistics says

Available data shows that the cummulative number of Apple’s iOS Apps on its store stood at 2.2 million by January, 2017 while that of Android Apps on Google Play tallied up to 3 million during the same period under review. In terms of downloads, a total of 90 billion Apps were downloaded into devices in 2016, a significant increase over that of 2015 which stood at about 77 billion. The fact that Android is flexible and more versed than iOS is what makes a huge difference between Google play and Apple respectively.
Coupled with the fact that more original equipment manufacturers are going for Android as their operating system rather than iOS is another reason why Google play is going to outperform Apple. While Google play is amassing vast numbers through diverse sources, Apple on its own has remained in its comfort zone of elitist market through iphone and ipad models.

Projections on What the future holds

The App ecosystem have no doubt grown astronomically in less than a decade since they became fully established. From its inception on July 8 2011 with a modest 500 Apps and zero downloads, Apple’s iOS has improved on its offering awesomely to 2.2 million Apps available in its store and a staggering 130 billion downloads so far.
In the same vein, Apple released the ipad device in April 2010 along with 3,000 Apps available for download, it jumped to 100,000 Apps by July 2011 and by March 21, 2016 it has already crossed the 1 million milestone figure.

In terms of numbers, Apple may have lost the game to Google but it’s consolation still lies on the fact that they are still reaping much more profit generally than Google, thanks to their dominance in the premium advanced markets. Google on it’s own, may be chalking up on the less profitable emerging markets like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico among others but they are certainly making the most of their great numbers.

Google have already shown the stuff they are made of by overtaking Apple and thereby brutally crushing Steve Job’s projections, however, they still have to do much more if they actually hope to make it a double by closing the gap on profits. Since Apple is definitely not resting on their oars, it promises to be a long drawn battle between these two giants.

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