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Apple Took 99.4% of App Sales In 2009

Gordon Kelly


Apple Took 99.4% of App Sales In 2009

Here's some potentially incendiary war flame material...

Research firm Gartner has announced that Apple took an amazing 99.4 per cent of the $4.2bn (£2.56bn) spent on mobile apps during 2009. That said, this share is expected to fall to around two thirds during 2010 as competition increases and revenue hits an estimated $6.8bn.

"As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads," said Gartner research director Stephanie Baghdassarian. "Games remain the number one application, and mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money."

Two points on this.

Firstly, despite being an iPhone owner I actually find these figures to be rather depressing since it shows how little progress the majority of mobile platforms have made since Apple announced the App Store in 2008, and even the original iPhone itself in January 2007.

Secondly, while insanely popular right now, App Stores are likely to prove just a bridging technology to web based (and therefore platform neutral) apps as mobile broadband technology - notably LTE - improves, though we still have some way to go yet. In fact, Apple itself wasn't even keen on an application store with the release of the first iPhone, instead citing security issues and promoting web apps before eventually relenting to public pressure.

So depressing? Yes indeed. Kudos to Apple? Absolutely. Likelihood of change? Inevitable.


via Ars Technica


January 20, 2010, 6:04 am

Engadget reported that the number '99.4' per cent is wrong because of how it is calculated.


Now you may feel slightly less depressed.


January 20, 2010, 6:07 am

Apple seems to overcharge on most things, but it seems games are the exception. In trying to overwhelm the dominance of the DS and PSP, they are selling premium titles like GTA Chinatown wars for about £6, compared to double figures for the other platforms. From reviews, the experience isn't that cut down either. Should Sony and Nintendo start worrying?


January 20, 2010, 6:19 am

"$4.2bn (£2.56m)"

Run-on-the-pound, Gordon?


January 20, 2010, 6:29 am

I just realised that would be a run on the dollar - but we're focussing on your mistake!


January 20, 2010, 1:39 pm

iPhone owners easier to make money off? :-)

This is why it's going to be so hard for other platforms to catch up. All the action is on the App Store. Hopefully there isn't too much of a network effect. Otherwise what chance do the others have?


January 20, 2010, 2:03 pm

I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in this article read the first few comments on the engadget article techn0scho0lbus cited above, especially tmarks11's comments.

(Apologies to TR for directing readers to another tech website!)


January 20, 2010, 2:10 pm

The iphone has taken many sales, however I am sure many of them are bought for the same reason people buy Canon cameras; as you said a day or two ago:-

"When you're buying a status symbol, the brand name is all important"

Ala Miah

January 20, 2010, 2:58 pm

I've said this before (maybe) and I'll say it again, nothing comes close to Apple's App store and these figures just prove it.

Android market place is just a cheap imitation, at least imo anyway (htc hero)


January 20, 2010, 3:55 pm

Being a WM user i really don't get why people are spending money on all these apps? Aren't they just the modern day equivalent of ring tones? Don't get my wrong, i like apps, but wouldn't spend money of something which google can do just as well. I see the phone as a tool, not something would want to spend hours mucking about on. I have a PC and netbook for that.


January 20, 2010, 5:16 pm

@Gordon: regarding web apps, have you seen www.hahlo.com? {designed I believe with iPhones in mind, but works brilliantly on N900 too}.

@darkspark88: You seem to have been successfully befuddled by Jobsy when he drew those comparisons between iPod touch/DS/PSP during their announcement conference for... um, I think it was the 3rd Gen iPod Touch and camera for iPod Nano. Anyway, he neatly sidestepped the fact he directly compared retail games with an online digital only store which literally relies on impulse pricing. Apart from the fact Rockstar literally couldn't price it any higher for fear of backlash by fickle iPhone users used to paying 0.59p for games, you have to keep in mind that most of the design work was already done for the DS and the revamped engine had been worked on for the PSP release, so the "port job" wouldn't have cost them as much as a brand new game.

As for the experience being cut down; due to the touch-screen nature of the controls, action games will NEVER work as well on the iPod/iPhone as they would on a DS/PSP. If anyone were to suggest otherwise, they would be considered silly and immediately deleted from the internet.

@Simon: you tell 'em!

Back @Gordon: Also, more depressing I find is the fact iTunes has a 99% monopoly or so on video purchases over here. I wish someone would create a half-decent movie download service... (I know there are probably legal issues holding many companies back, but still..)


January 20, 2010, 5:56 pm

Actually, what's more depressing is that it was left to commenters to point out the obvious frailities in Ars Technica's 'analysis'.

I mean Apple has the Daddy of app stores just now but their logic of simply whacking off an approximate figure of 2.5 billion app store downloads (because Apple said it was about that and it must be true. No really.) from Gartner's data and deducing from this that everyone else only managed 16 million between them when we know Ovi alone had a million downloads per day over the last few months is ropy to start with and that's before we even consider if sales and downloads from third party sites that other platforms allow and Apple do not were included.

Oh yeah, and then there's the split between iPhones and iPod Touches to get a comparitive figure? Where is it?

Stuff like this does the tech journalist community no favours. Come on guys, at least ask the questions, eh?


January 20, 2010, 7:18 pm

If the majority of sales were games then shouldn't we be comparing it to other mobile gaming systems like the DS and PSP? I know the DS has sold at least 600 million games, which makes Apple's ~625 million sales of all apps including games look average even before you consider the prices, which being so low probably means people have more games on average so the actual number of people buying is even smaller.

Looks like just another example of bad statistics to me.


January 20, 2010, 7:32 pm

That doesn't say much. 99% of statistics are bad, or in other words, can be made to say whatever you want.

Exempli gratia http://www.youtube.com/watc...

Don Kanonjii

January 21, 2010, 1:18 am

Regardless of how accurate the stats are there is no denying the success of the iphone. I think the big problem the android platform faces now and in the future is that there are too many different devices. Everyone knows the iphone is pretty much the same device across the board so development on the platform can be honed where as android phones are so varied in spec that it is hard to develop an app that will work well across the board.Hardware unification is the way forward i think. Look at how over time developers can get more and more power out of consoles because of the standardised platform. Where as developing a PC game that looks and runs great on every machine is not possible.


January 21, 2010, 4:14 am


You do realise that some of those apps run considerably better on the 3GS than on the 3G though so it's not quite the same platform. As for consoles, homogenisation is fine but since every decent PC game comes with an auto configuration package that sets the game for optimal performance on the hardware it runs on it's scarcely a problem.

PC games are inherently better precisely because of the wide range of hardware they can be played on.

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