App Store’s 300 Million Downloads is Remarkable No Matter How You Look at It

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This past Friday, Apple advertised iPhone apps in the New York Times and also mentioned that there have been 300 million app downloads. While most people realize this is pretty amazing, there are some comments quickly rushing to pour water on the app store’s fire…

How many of those 300 million were free apps?

Apparently this is supposed to matter since it would show that Apple isn’t making a lot of money here. So what? It wasn’t Apple’s plan to make a lot of money on the app store. This should be obvious from the fact that they take only 30% of the cost of sold apps, and host free ones for nothing. That’s hardly a model designed to make a big profit. The app store is about content, and people using that content to make the device better for them.

How many of the apps are still in use?

Who cares? I’ve probably deleted 5-10 apps after deciding that alternative apps were better. The beauty is that I can download the apps, try a few, and pick what works for me. If a user downloads an app and doesn’t like it, that does not reflect badly on Apple or the App Store (though it might on the developer).

Is Apple counting updates as Downloads?

Really? I think this is a bit of a reach. I can’t be the only one who would be shocked if this were true. The App Store knows exactly how many unique apps (i.e., not updates) I’ve downloaded, so why would they count anything else? Heck, it seems to me it’s easier for Apple to track the uniques than the updates.

Most of the apps are crap anyway.

This may be true, but if it’s a good enough business model for Windows PC software then it’s good enough for the app store. OK, just kidding, but my point is that the vast majority of everything is “crap.” This is true of software as much as literature, TV shows, Movies, Music, etc. So? Again, this is not a bad reflection on either the app store or Apple.

The bottom line is that Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, etc. would love to have a one-stop shopping solution that’s as integrated into their devices, easy to use, and navigate as the App Store. Something even the average user has no problem using. Further, they’d love to have a user base that has shown a definite desire and ability to use that store. Apple has it, they don’t.