Apple App Store: 10 Billion Downloads And Counting!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 24, 2011

The big daddy of mobile app stores continues to smash one record after the other. Apple announced Saturday that more than 10 billion apps have been downloaded from its revolutionary App Store. Despite all the hype around Android Market, privately-held GetJar app store which reached 1 billion downloads last June, continues to be Apple’s closest rival in the app store race.

Ironical as it seems, the lucky 10 billionth customer – Gail Davis of Orpington, England, who won a $10,000 gift card for iTunes, thought that the Apple’s call was a prank and hung up the phone.

10 billion downloads in two and a half years (or so) is no mean achievement, especially considering Apple’s single smartphone device and carrier exclusivity strategy until the beginning of this year. The mobile app industry is expected to be worth $25 billion in 2015 and I won’t be surprised if Apple continues to hold a lion’s share of the overall revenues during the next five years.

While I may sound as a Steve Jobs worshipper and an avid iPhone loyalist, there is no discounting the fact that Apple deserves all the credit for conceptualizing and handholding the mobile app store industry. The Apple app store launched in July 2008 with just 500 apps and was quickly written off as a failed experiment by several critics and industry experts alike. Developers publicly blasted Apple for its “closed wall” approach and lack of clear app evaluation criteria.

Apple, though had different plans – the company stuck to its long-term goals and the rewards came sooner than expected. Apple app store hit 1 billion downloads in less than nine months of its existence and then reached 5 billion downloads in June 2010. And going by the current download rate and the looming Verizon iPhone, I won’t be surprised if the App Store tops 20 billion downloads by the end of this year.

It’s not been all smooth sailing though. Apple has been forced to clean up its App Store several times to remove apps featuring sexual, abusive and otherwise inappropriate content. The company fell out of favor with the developer community in its ongoing war with Adobe over Flash, and was then forced to loosen the death grip over developer restrictions to counter the looming Android threat. The New Year didn’t exactly start on a promising note for Apple as millions of iPhone users worldwide complained about malfunctioning alarms for three consecutive days starting Jan 1.

Despite all these hiccups, the iPhone continues to be one of the bestselling smartphones of all times. Apple sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. While there’s no doubt that Android Market is growing at a scorching pace and could overtake Apple’s iOS App Store in a few years from now, Apple would always be fondly remembered as the “Big Daddy of App Stores”.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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