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After 16 Months, Windows Phone Has 70k Apps. How Long Did it Take iOS and Android?

After 16 Months, Windows Phone Has 70k Apps. How Long Did it Take iOS and Android?

By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)

The whole Mac vs PC debate is so 2011 and it has been replaced by iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone. Well, only a select few believe Windows Phone is even in the game but almost all mobile analysts are a part of that minority. So am I.

But let's put aside our love or hate of anything Microsoft and look at the numbers. This past week the Windows Phone Marketplace hit 70,000 live apps and 100,000 registered developers in 63 different markets. Again, I want to focus on numbers here and not opinions. Some might say that Windows Phone apps are not as good as iOS apps. Others will claim that the important ones are nowhere to be found on Windows Phone. To those people I say, give the platform some time, the apps are on the way.

Putting all that aside, the growth rate of an app store is at least somewhat of an indication of where the platform is going. Presumably, if there is an app, someone must have developed it. If developers are creating apps for Windows Phone, that must mean they are somewhat optimistic that all the predictions are true and that the platform will indeed take off in the near future.

Here is the thing. So many bloggers are busy belittling that number because 70k is not a million, which is the number of apps in both the App Store and the Android Market/Google Play. All the people making that comparison (Ahem, Scoble) so conveniently forget one thing. The Windows Phone Marketplace launched in October 2010, the App Store launched on July 10th, 2008, and the Android Market launched on October 10th, 2008. Does that really seem like a fair comparison?

What we SHOULD be comparing is the speed at which the stores grow, not the absolute number of apps in the stores.

So let's get to the numbers...

70,000 Windows Phone apps as of February 2012. The Windows Phone Marketplace launched in October 2010, so some quick math indicates that it took the platform 16 months to reach this milestone. Now let's take a look at some of the competing platforms.

Let's start with the leader of the mobile world, Android. The Android Market hit the 80k app milestone in August, 2010, two years after it launched. It took Windows Phone 8 months less to reach 70k. As for the growth rate, the Windows Phone Marketplace has been adding 10k new apps every month. So, bottom line? The Windows Phone Marketplace is growing WAY faster than Android was in its first few years. I don't think anyone is calling Android a dead platform...

How about iOS? Well, the App Store is a little bit of a different story. As mentioned, it launched in  July 2008 and reached the 75k apps milestone in September 2009. So it took the App Store 14 months to reach 75k apps compared to the Windows Phone Marketplace's 16 months to reach 70k.

Except, there is one small difference. When the App Store launched, it has close to zero competition. There was no Android Market, and there was no Windows Phone Marketplace. That was obviously not the case with the Windows Phone Marketplace's launch in 2010.

Oh and one more thing. The Windows Phone Marketplace is available in 41 countries, last time I checked, and the Apple App Store is now available in well over 123 countries worldwide. So again, comparing absolute numbers here is completely irrelevant.

OK, I think you get the point. Windows Phone is far from dead with developers excited about the opportunity to develop for a platform that offers tools as easy to use as Apple's but with a global market reach as far as Android's.

Before you pounce on me in the comments, the growth of the app store is NOT the only comparison that indicates the health of a mobile platform. Users are obviously also important as is market share and mindset, all things that Windows Phone lacks. The basic assumption here is that mobile consumers follow the apps, which follow the market interest in an OS. So if Windows Phone keeps up this pace, the users, market share, and mindset will follow. I guess only time will tell!

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