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Apple to lose in market share of mobile app downloads: study

July 9, 2010

Apple will trail Symbian in total app downloads by 2015, per Ovum

Apple will trail Symbian in total app downloads by 2015, per Ovum

Apple will not be the undisputed king of mobile application downloads in five years time, according to an Ovum report.

The iPhone manufacturer generated 67 percent of all mobile application downloads in 2009 even though its smartphone market share is only 14 percent, according to the report. However, as Android, Symbian and BlackBerry phones continue to increase their smartphone market penetration, Ovum foresees Apple’s vice grip on the application market eroding.

Ovum, a Datamonitor company, provides independent business and technology analysis.

Mobile platforms compete for app downloads
As more companies are developing mobile applications to extend their brands in the mobile space, many have considered which platform provides the best reach for targetting consumers.

So far, the obvious answer has been Apple, and one panelist at the Luxury Interactive 2010 conference said that there is no commercial reason to build applications for BlackBerry or Android (see story).

That all could change in coming years, according to Ovum, whose report takes stock of the current market positions of major smartphone platforms and projects the growth of these players over the next five years.

Overall, Ovum expects mobile application downloads from non-operator application stores to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 41 percent through 2015.

Total downloads over that span are expected to jump to 21.3 billion from 2.69 billion in 2009.

While Ovum says Apple’s share of application downloads will drop from 67 to 14 percent, Symbian is expected to make the opposite transition.

That mobile platform currently makes up 49 percent of the smartphone install base, but only accounts for 9 percent of the application download market. Its application market share will shoot up to 19 percent by 2015, as its install base continues to expand, per Ovum.

Google’s Android platform will experience similar growth over the same time period according to the technology analyst.

The report also shows Android’s application download share increasing from 14 to 26 percent as its smartphone base increases from 5 to 18 percent.

And, BlackBerry, which has been a major player in the smartphone market for years, will lose ground to newer, more advanced smartphone platforms penetrating the market like Android, per Ovum.

However, the report still anticipates that the BlackBerry share of application downloads will jump from 5 to 17 percent.

Microsoft is expected to experience a similar trend.

North America will maintain its lead in the mobile application download market, according the report, but its margins over other regions is expected to slim as its total market share falls from 57 to 31 percent in 2015.

Asia Pacific’s market share will grow the most, from 5 to 20 percent.

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

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