Apple Inc said customers have downloaded more than 40 billion applications from its App Store, with almost half of those last year, escalating a duel with Google Inc over which company is gaining the most traction with users.
More than 2 billion apps were downloaded last month, setting a record, the California-based Apple said in a statement yesterday. Apple, with more than 775,000 apps available for its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, said it has paid more than US$7 billion to app developers. By comparison, Google’s Android software had about 25 billion app downloads from its store as of September last year.
Apple is counting on apps to help woo consumers who are choosing from an increasing array of lower-priced tablets from competitors, including Google, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp. Apps can also help the iPhone compete against feature-laden phones from Samsung Electronics Co and Nokia Oyj.
The growth in App Store users to more than 500 million active accounts, from 435 million in September, as well as the surge in downloads from 35 billion in October, “could help allay some recent demand concerns,” Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Will Power wrote in a report yesterday.
He rates the shares “outperform” with a target price of US$750.
While Apple pioneered the smartphone market with the iPhone, it now trails devices that run Android. Handsets running Android, which offered about 700,000 applications to users as of October, had 72 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, compared with 14 percent for Apple, research firm Gartner Inc said.
Google did not disclose how much it has paid to Android app developers.
Shares of Apple slipped 0.6 percent to US$523.90 at the close in New York on Monday, a third straight day of decline after a 31 percent increase last year.
Barclays PLC cut its price estimate to US$740 from US$800 in a research report on Monday, while maintaining an “overweight” rating on Apple stock.
“Expectations are actually low and getting lower,” Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes wrote in the report. “Many investors fear iPhone sales will be relatively flat this year and that there will be no move into TV that moves the needle.”