Commentary

Why iOS Is Eating Android's Lunch

In terms of sheer numbers, growth in emerging markets is helping Android to increase its lead over Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, according to a new report from App Annie.

But in terms of actual money, Apple continues to clean up, the analytics firm finds.

Indeed, the iOS App Store’s revenue was 80% higher than Google Play in the third quarter of the year. That’s up from a 70% lead in the second quarter.

As mobile watchers point out, this is almost all courtesy of China, which already surpassed the U.S. by iOS downloads earlier this year.

Quarter-over-quarter, China led all countries in absolute growth of both iOS app downloads and revenue. The U.S. and Japan still lead in revenue, but that will likely change with time.

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According to App Annie, the Chinese marketplace can’t get enough of the iPhone 6’s larger screens, combined with social video and gaming apps on the App Store.

What’s up with Google Play? Well, the numbers show that it continues to grow like gangbusters, but most of that growth in concentrated in less cash-rich markets like India and Southeast Asia.

In the third quarter, worldwide downloads were 90% higher on Google Play versus the iOS App Store -- up from its lead of 85% during the same period last year.

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