The App Store’s 50B Downloads Vs. Google Play’s 48B: Android Closes The Gap

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Apple had a bit of a head start when it came to mobile software sales, since it launched its App Store earlier than the Android Market — now called Google Play. The gap between the two, which was more pronounced in terms of initial downloads, has begun to close. Today both Play and the App Store announced very similar milestones.

Apple has been counting down to its 50 billionth app download for a while now. In fact, the assets were leaked via the Apple website backend code earlier today, so we all knew it was coming. Coincidence that it would land on a Google keynote day? That’s hard to tell, but Google had its own milestone to announce: 48 billion downloads announced onstage at I/O today.

The announcements give us a unique opportunity to compare download numbers from both stores on as equal footing as possible, and the result is a snapshot of two app stores that are neck and neck — at least in terms of straight downloads.

That doesn’t take into account paid vs. free apps, or how much revenue each makes from ads and other sources. But as you can see from the graph, it marks one area at least where Google used to trail considerably but is now catching up. Also the fact that Google’s Android OS now accounts for a majority percentage of global smartphone sales means it shouldn’t be surprising that there are a lot of people downloading apps.