Transfer Pricing Associates

What App Platforms are Competing for Attention?

post Sunday February 19, 2012


Ever wonder how different app platforms compete for revenue? Or which platform’s apps are the most popular?  Currently, the most successful app stores are the following:

In 2011, all seven stores, or digital distribution platforms, showed impressive growth and together, have over one million apps currently available.  Nearly all of the app stores more than doubled their number of available apps in 2011, with Windows Phone 7 Marketplace showing the largest relative growth of all stores (more than 400% year-on-year growth).  [Source: Distimo]

Research firm, Canalys, has estimated that in 2011, app store direct revenues totaled to around $7 billion.  The firm also projects that in 2012, revenues will almost double and that by 2015, revenues will reach $36 billion.  This projection equates to a four-year compound annual growth rate for 2011 to 2015 of just under 50%.  [Source: Canalys]

Even though Google, Inc. may have turned Android into the most popular operating system platform, both the Apple App Store for iPad and the Apple App Store for iPhone still beat the Google Android Market this past year in terms of the total revenue generated by the 200 highest grossing apps.  And even despite Android’s growing market share in 2011, its revenues also lagged far behind the Apple App Store.  [Source: Canalys]

But what makes the Apple App Store’s success?  Perhaps it is Apple’s cult-like following for anything associated with the company, or maybe it’s their successful intellectual property management.  For example, in 2008, Apple actually trademarked the term “App Store”.  Note that none of the other app platforms call their stores “App Stores” but rather have to push the terms together like Amazon’s Appstore, or use a different term altogether, like Blackberry’s App World.  Apple has traditionally been very strategic with their intellectual property registrations, often patenting or trademarking more general names or processes, but sometimes with the criticism of having their registrations be too generic.  Apple’s IP strategies have obviously paid off, which is evidenced by the App Store posting a countdown to 25 billion downloaded apps, a goal they will probably hit by next week.

So then, what are the most popular apps in the world?  Well, the apps (free and paid) that generated the most downloads worldwide across all seven stores and across all platforms in 2011 are the following:

[Source: Distimo]\


image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

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