Apple Losing App Dominance Ground to Google

Posted By Ellen Cowan In Digital Strategy 02/13/2013

The Silicon Valley News reports that, “sales of applications from Google's online store doubled in the fourth quarter from the prior three months while Apple's revenue climbed 20 percent.” In reaction to the trend, some mobile app developers who traditionally designed primarily for Apple operating systems have begun putting Google apps on an equal footing in the development process.

Apple clearly had a huge advantage in the number of available apps for years. However, the Silicon Valley News explains that now, “After trailing Apple for years by number of apps available, Google caught up last year, saying in October that its Google Play featured 700,000 applications, the same number Apple boasted that month.”

How should these new trends fit into a smart developer’s digital strategy? The article states that, “App developers are making as much as 40 percent of their revenue from Google, compared with about 15 percent a year ago, according to Jim Goetz, a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.”

Of course, revenue isn’t the only consideration. We’ve talked about how user experience design is influencing the future of mobile app design, but practical considerations still predominate the decisions developers need to make today, and Google’s Android apps continue to face some design challenges compared with Apple. The Silicon Valley News writes, “Because Google provides Android free to an array of handset makers, developers have been frustrated by the need to customize apps for different devices. Lower payouts have also been an impediment for Android.”

Google has taken some steps to entice developers including issuing less frequent updates, hosting design workshops and video chats to guide developers, and teaming up with telephone giants SK Telecom and Verizon Wireless to streamline payments by applying directly to user’s phone bills.

As Google continues to press in on Apple’s app dominance, there are bound to be some exciting new advances and efficiencies for mobile app development. The people most likely to benefit from the increased competition, however, are the users (it could be argued) because competition makes the people involved deliver better services. From DOOR3's perspective, it is best to serve the user where they are, and we can help with both the iOS and Android strategy, including solutions that work across all smartphone browsers.

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