Piper Jaffray study predicts Apple to own 70%+ mobile app dollars share in next few years

Android rules the yard, but iOS developers still rake in the cash

If you've somehow managed to live under a rock for the past few weeks, you would have missed all the latest statistics showing Android's continuing growth and overall strangling of its competitors in the smartphone market.

At last week's launch of Google Music, the head honchos weren't shying away from commenting on Android's success, saying that there were now 200 million Android activated devices across the globe, with an estimated 550,000 being activated every single day.

Apple are still in the picture though, having already broken the 250 million barrier for total devices. But when you take into account the fact that Apple had a 16 month headstart, it's clear to see that the tide has already turned.

It's a phenomenal adoption rate, and whilst those figures are up for debate, it just shows how popular Android has become for developers - offering them much greater creative opportunities than the fairly restricted Apple counterpart. A recent Mobile Mix survey adds further misery for iOS, showing Android holds the majority in the connected device share.

However, a Piper Jaffray's study shows that Apple developers really brings home the bacon, generating a whopping $3.4 billion compared to $240 million for Google developers  Gene Munster's research shows that Apple gets between 80-90% of the total windfall from mobile apps too.

Further delving into data shows that Google Android's marketplace has generated a measly 7% of its rival Appstore's gross revenue and even with Android being the smartphone of choice, Apple will still hold 70% of mobile app dollar share in the next 3-4 years. The full data is incredibly revealing and shows that even though Apple may well be losing out in adoption rates, they're certainly kings when it comes to maximising their revenue from their apps.

Even with Android catching up - in terms of apps being created and more developers using the platform to create their applications - it does pose a quandary for a budding mobile application developer.

Do they choose to follow the money trail with Apple or the flourishing community and platform of Android?

The findings do suggest that Android developers may have to be more ruthless with charging for the products that they've created. But in turn, would a price hike for an app create a downfall in people adopting Android devices? After all they've built their model on its openess and its low/free pricing and a sudden switch could lead to a massive Android turn-off.

With Ice Cream Sandwich imminent, perhaps Android needs to show some parity and reward its developers for their superior work. If they don't, developers may be green with envy at the bank balance of their iOS counterparts.

Chris Mayer

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