37% of Android Apps Removed Since Launch

Malware scares are not unknown in Google’s Android Market. With its less restrictive approach to screening applications, the company has periodically been forced to pull apps found to be infected with malicious software intended to steal data or cause other problems for users. So how does the Android Market stack up with competitors when it comes to yanking titles from its app store shelves?

According to a new report by U.K.-based research firm research2guidance, the Google app storefront leads in this category, having removed more than 37% of apps for various reasons since launching in 2008. By comparison, Apple has deactivated 24% of apps in the App Store as of the end of September, and Microsoft has pulled just 13% from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The report said Apple’s more rigorous submission standards prevent developers from publishing multiple trial or low-quality apps, “whereas publishers in the Android Market place a lot of market testing, trials, demo and malware content.”

It also suggested that since the vast majority (78%) of apps removed are free, publishers may put more effort into developing paid apps.

The WP7 Marketplace is hard to compare on an apples-to-apples basis with the Android Market and the App Store it launched only 15 months ago. Many publishers are still exploring its potential. The study noted, for instance, the Android Market had a similarly low rate for deactivated apps at the same point in time. 

The malware incidents and pulled apps have hardly slowed down the expansion of the Google app store. In September, it added a record 42,000 titles. At the same time, the flood of new apps has pushed up the proportion of free titles during the month to 34% from 26%. Nearly half of newly added content falls into four categories: games, entertainment, personalization, and music and audio.

The average publisher on Android has placed more than six applications in the Android Market since launch, compared to just over four by Apple iOS developers. Even so, Google still has yet to catch up with its mobile arch rival in the overall size of its catalog. As of the third quarter, the number of active apps in the Android Market stood at 319,161 compared to 459,589 in App Store.

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