App Store MoneyThe shift to mobility has certainly hurt the ability to pick clear winners and losers. In the era of beige-box PCs, bean-counters could glance at market share data. But growth of smartphones and apps shattered such easy measurements The battle between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is more of an optical illusion where the “winner” can triumph in terms of market share, but lose when it comes to revenue.

Still, people want clear winners and losers and Time magazine is just the latest to answer the call. According to the magazine’s website, the winner is – well, that really depends…

After sorting through an avalanche of graphs and pie charts, Time’s Harry McKracken admits there is no definite objective answer.

“Android if you’re talking about market share; iOS if you mean financial success,” he writes.

That conclusion was reinforced by new figures showing the number of Android-based apps are growing, but the Google Play market place revenue remains woefully behind Apple’s App Store.

Canalys app revenue and downloads

In terms of sheer numbers of devices, Android is leading.

Time cites figures from Kantar showing a 52.1 percent to 43.5 percent for Google’s mobile software.

Kantar IDC smartphone sales

Although McKracken rightly describes the numbers as “more of a freeze-frame of the competition” between mid-November 2012 and mid-February 2013 than fluid reality, the figures were for sales, not usage.

Like the shipments versus revenue picture, higher sales do not equate to higher usage.

uTest app quality

For instance, we recently reported on a Citrix study that found 62 percent of its enterprise customers deployed iOS device, compared to 35 percent for Android handsets. By the way, the Cytrix report coincided with a new research announcing 97 percent of mobile malware targeted Android.

In another case, NetMarketshare found 60.1 percent of mobile browsers were online with iOS versus 24.9 percent for Android. The reports suggest that while Android devices are numerically leading, usage is dominated by Apple’s iOS.

NetMarketShare StatCounter (Android, iOS usage)

Then there is the question of revenue.

As Time indicated, the number of Android-based apps is approaching those available on Apple’s App Store.

McKracken also cites Canalys figures showing 51 percent of apps downloaded were Android while 40 percent were iOS during the first quarter of 2013.

Similar numbers arrived Wednesday from App Annie, where researchers announced Google Play and the App Store were at 90 percent parity, when it came to downloads during the first quarter.

app-downloadsAppAnnie app revenue

According to App Annie:

While the iOS App Store and Google Play both had solid gains in app downloads last quarter, Google Play had a higher percentage growth rate as well as a greater gain in absolute downloads.

As of Q1 2013, Google Play’s app downloads were close to 90% of iOS App Store downloads.

So, if Google Play had more downloads than the App Store, it should follow that revenue increased as well, right?

Not quite so fast.

Cytrix enterprise use

App Annie explains that despite increasing the number of app downloads and growing its revenue by 90 percent between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013, the App Store actually earned 2.6 times as much absolute revenue as the Android-based Google Play.

As Time’s McKracken points out, “iOS users are spending much more on apps, even if they’re downloading fewer of them overall.” In a similar vein, Apple was seen as earning $3 out of every $4 made by top app stores, according to a Canalys research earlier this year.

Why is Apple losing the market share war, but winning in revenue?

Perhaps a hint comes from the head of Major League Baseball, a business used to understanding curve balls.

Bob Bowman, speaking at a conference sponsored by AllThingsD yesterday, suggested Apple’s lack of a low-end device only bolsters the chance of spending coming from iOS rather than Android.

His user base, which used to split 80/20 in favor of iOS over Android, has now moved to 70/30. “The Samsung phone is quite a good Android phone,” Bowman said.

However, the uptick in Android users doesn’t track with revenue as 80 percent of MLB’s digital revenues are from iOS devices while Android accounts for just fifteen percent of sales, “maybe even 85/15,” Bowman said.

  • Dri

    7 iphones vs 300+ android phones

    • felixtaf

      Where ~150 are Galaxy devices!!!!!!!!!!

      • Dri

        What about htc, sony and what ever other phone company

    • Translation: 7 iPhones > 300+ Android Devices.
      I think people forget about the fact the whole world is competing against Apple while using a big soup of hardware and software and Apple is still kicking ass hard. Just face it, you cannot truly compare a single company that develops and deploys their OWN software inside their OWN hardware versus companies that rely on a third-party software and deploy it to their hardware devices- it just simply will NEVER work as smooth as it should, this is why they rump up the hardware specs to a ridiculous degree (those phones today have more processing power than a 4-year old computer to accommodate that). My humble opinion…

      • Dri

        Im with you on this one

  • Apple is extremely strict on App guidelines If they rejected no applications the app store would have 1.2 Million apps right now. Google is a lot more lenient so play has a higher ratio of bad applications which is causing lower revenue for many people probably.

    • erod434

      I believe that the amount of apps which cost less on android than ios is a major factor in the lower revenue. Also Google is not much more lenient than apple in maintaining their guidelines. In fact google recently removed 60k apps from google play (don’t believe me look it up).

  • This just proves how much better Apple is then Android.

    • erod434

      How? I love my ipad, but android is better in many ways than my old iphone 4s. In fact the article suggests that for consumers it is the opposite because the increased revenue for ios is due to the increased cost of apps on iphone which means that android users need to pay less (most are free) for the exact same apps.

      • Except iOS apps generally cost more due to increased quality…

      • erod434

        That is another myth I have found to be untrue in my experience with android and ios. While on tablets no one can argue against the fact that apps are 100x better on ios, on phones for the most part it is hard to tell the difference. Also, apps cost more on ios because the users are willing to pay more on ios.

      • Lol at all the down votes. Lets face it he’s right about the tablet thing. Tablet (iPad) apps are a lot better on iOS than on Android which are just stretched phone apps…

    • Mike

      If this is your way of deciding which platform to choose then that is pretty sad. Android has more features and customizability. I owned an iPhone….never again, too boring.

      • You ever heard of this cool thing called a jailbreak….

      • Alot of people would say, “So in order to have a great phone you have to jailbreak it?”. I have this argument all the time. It’s really easy. I say, “No”. My phone shat on yours while it was still vacuum sealed in the box.

      • pointless and stupid features

      • Hence why Crapple chooses to add it 2 years down the road? NotificationCentre, Hangup and Reply, text dictation, etc.

      • I didn’t say all. I only like 4 features in the Samsung Galaxy S3. The rest is just dumb.

      • Sure they’re dumb/useless to you until Crapple brings it to iOS, then all of a sudden, you and your herd find use for it…like a typical iSheep.

      • ya right dude keep telling yourself that

      • dragging a video from the internet to the home screen STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Lol, keep telling yourself that. I didn’t even know Android could do that (I use a freed iPhone 4S), I don’t find it a groundbreaking feature, but could utilize it as my local YouTube playlist/play-later or favourites…

      • airtonix

        Apple only decided to add them because people were leaving for Android where those features are native and more powerful.

  • एप्पल बकवास है

  • You should do a research and then show a graph about how many times you find the word android in everyone of your posts, it seems that idownloadblog has just become an anti-android blog. What a shame that we need to talk about how bad android is just to justify how far behing apple is lagging. Shame on you idownloadblog.

    • Please point out to me one post on iDB that is bashing Android. In this post, we’re just making a comparison. While the Play Store generates more downloads than the App Store, the App Store generates more revenue. There is no bashing as I can tell in here.

      • I will bash them for you… cause android suuuucks.. FACT.. i always laugh at android devices at best buy especially the tablets..they are covered in dust and most dont even work at all… sad..

      • Dude dont capitulate when you are simply being truthful.. android need to be bashed d and guess why?? yup cause it suuuuucks..

    • Guest

      Another Android fanboy.

    • android suuucks soo what is your point.?

  • Seriously? Apple vs Android again? Can’t we just agree that both operating systems are great and leave it at that? Tired of dumb fanboy comments. Coming from an iPhone 5 owner.

  • “Something is better than nothing” Says opposition party.

  • Parth Patel

    Do you know why apps costs less on play store? Because 1.They are generally bad ports of iOS.

    • airtonix

      bad ports of ios software… by developers who have no idea to begin with.

  • duh… android sucks and IOS is better we all know this…and? the downside is that apple has no competition so they are not doing anything new and exciting at all.. the who mobile OS market has stagnated really..

    • Joe,

      While I appreciate you as an involved iDB reader who likes to comment on posts, I will kindly ask you to stop posting comments such as “android suuuucks” and the likes. You’re entitled to your opinion but in most cases, saying “android sucks” doesn’t bring anything to the conversation. If anything, it lowers the quality of the conversation we’re trying to have in the comments section.

      Thanks for your understanding

      • Sebastian,

        While i undertand that as a human you find it hard tio accept that not everone agres with you, I will kindly ask yuou to not ask me to not voice my opinion.

        Android does suck.

        if that makes some readers cry they can ignore me just as i ignore many readers on here even you sometimes.

        If anything you asking me not to state my opinion is like me asking you to stop doing those boring pod casts but i don’t instead i simply don’t listen to

        Thanks for understanding.

      • u.r.a.dumbfuck

        You my friend are a genuine troll, and bring no more to this forum than a piece of rat turd. After reviewing most of your posts, you appear to be a blind fanboy with nothing better to do. Android is a great OS, and I know you feel threatened by that fact. In fact, most blind fanboys are, which is why they always post Android suuuuks to make themselves feel better about their purchase decision. Time to grow up, and open your mind to more than just apple.. Apple makes great products, but so does Samsung and other manufacturers. It is a simple win for consumers, and for the individual if you are mature enough to embrace both sides of the game.

        Time to grow up, and regain some of your dignity.

      • You are a the blue print of troll.. all other trolls are formulated from you…lol Android is what folks who cant afford , folks who are trapped in contracts, folks who dont know any better or folks who are confused get…IOS is what folks get when they want the best … The best is not for everyone.. FACT… android is a PC or a Toyota corolla and IOS is BMW M3 and a MAC.

        After not reading any of your posts cause i dont care about you at all i realize that you are simply an emotional captain save a mod…lol I you were mature you would realize that you are too emotionally invested in all this and its odd.

        Time to grow up and stop reading my posts and or dont reply to them..lolo

      • u.r.a.dumbfuck

        Just so you know, I own ALL iPhones, including the i5. I also own the Galaxy S3, Note 2, and several HTC, and several tablets, be them iPad, Chinese android knockoffs, and Samsung. I have a rounded view on technology, their pros and cons, and how off base you are on your one sided, immature view on technology.

        Time to get your head out of the ground, and grow up.

      • “I also own the Galaxy S3, Note 2, and several HTC” Yeah go sell those POSs and you will have total clarity..

      • u.r.a.dumbfuck

        Thank you for proving my point.

      • Gorgonphone

        if your point is that you think that android does not suck then your point is.. well its umm… sad wrong and misguided

      • DeBugger

        I have to agree that u.r.a.dumbfuck… his points are spot on and only somebody with an uneducated, limited view on technology would think apple iOS is the only decent mobile OS around.