Google Play vs. Apple Store. The Battle in App Wars

Posted On Dec 15, 2015
The mobile ecosystem is dominated by the Two Tech Giants – Google and Apple, not just for revenue, but also for developers and consumers. Both of these offer apps for music, movies, books, utilities and others. But, what’s the key comparison factor between them? Should I go for Apple or Google?

Available Apps and the Number of Downloads

Let’s begin with the common start point. Apple launched its App Store in 2008 with just 500 apps and it was within the first 3 months, it saw 100 million+ downloads and the app numbers reached 3000. By the end of 2014, Apple had 1.4 million iOS apps in its store and 85 billion downloads.

Google on the same line pitched its Android market from 2008 with only handful of apps but quickly grew to have 2300 apps in 2009 and by 2010, around 80,000 apps were available. At the end of 2012, the number of apps surpassed 500,000 with 25 million+ downloads.

The Wall Street Journal for first quarter of 2015 reported that Google Play has 70% more app downloads compared to App Store of Apple and surprisingly, the app revenue of Apple is 70% higher to that of Google.

Free vs. Paid apps

Compared to Google’s Play Store app developers, the App store of Apple continues to generate more revenues and the reason behind is simply interesting! We know the Apple owners come from better income families as the handsets are way too expensive and thus these affluent owners are willing to invest more money on apps to that of an ‘average’ Android user.

Indeed there are expensive phones in Android ecosystem – Samsung Galaxy S6 but, there are handsets between $100 and $300 too. And in many parts of the world, where Android has covered the market, users may still not have credit/debit card, also carrier billing may not be available.

Android lacking direct sales is the result behind the more ad-supported apps on Android. It also means that developers go straight to ad-supported apps on Android not even trying to monetize apps via different approach.
The statistics from AppBrain on free vs paid Android apps shows 1,430,216 apps for free while only 203,390 apps are paid-apps and the in-app billing is around 126,492 as of August 04, 2015.

Web Interface – the Feasibility

In today’s web-centric world, Apple still needs iTunes and it’s even more annoying that while you search an iOS app on the web, you will be taken to the page showing the app but the only way to move forward from here is to view its detail on iTunes. 

Google Play does have its own native app on Android but you still have the freedom to access it purely over internet. You can also push to install request on your devices directly.

The Media

The movies you buy can be viewed on Apple devices and iTunes but if you talk about portability, it’s a No again! The same isn’t true for Google. Google allows you to watch purchased movies on any device which has a supported web browser. So, you at least have the option to watch videos or movies on devices you want.

The Summary

Both of these platforms are working differently on respective strategies to drive organic downloads. Some of the processes for App Store Optimization seem similar though. Google Play algorithm is bit of a complex as it is linked with Google Search Engine and Google+ closely. Apple is however auto-centered but iTunes app is to be crafted for SEO.  They both have excellent advantages but neither are perfect. 

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