This week we were assigned to read a September 2008 Seeking Alpha article on application marketplaces. Much of what was speculation at that time has become true. Every major mobile operating system now has its own marketplace for consumers to purchase applications on their devices. This is a good thing for consumers, who can purchase applciations to extend the capabilities of their phones, as well as for carriers and phone makers who have new revenue opportunities.
However, now that the field has been leveled and applications are available to all, the quality of applications and application marketplaces have become a key part of the consumer purchasing decision when considering phones and carriers. From this perspective, Apple has set itself apart from the pack. Whereas Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Google have had to offer new application storefronts, Apple has an advantage by servicing consumers via the world’s top digital music store, iTunes. Their credit cards were already locked in. All Apple had to do was add on the App Store.
How successful has this model been for Apple? Check out this infographic created by GigaOm. Some of the numbers included in the graphic:
- 130,000+ apps available
- 4.8 apps downloaded in December per user
- 280 million app downloads in December
These numbers are staggering.
They should also be intimidating to competitors. Even with Google’s massive marketing campaign for its new phones, including the Nexus One and Droid, it has yet to come up with an applications answer for Apple. Surely, quality apps on any platform will win consumers compared to a quantity of sub-par apps. Apple has both. This application market dominance is appealing to consumers, who have flocked to AT&T and the iPhone in droves.
It’s no longer about the phones anymore, it’s about the experience. The mobile industry should realize that, for now, applications are driving that.