Android vs iOS Super Bowl Matchup

The Super Bowl is Feb 1st, Apple just released their earnings for Q4, Google said they just passed Apple in # of apps.

Let’s take a look at Android vs iOS – and which is best for mobile app publishers (and why).

Both teams brought their “A” games in 2014, and we have all been expecting this matchup!

Let’s check out the lineups!

We are evaluating each mobile OS (Android vs iOS) coupled with it’s store from the perspective of a Mobile App publisher/marketer/investor. iOS is evaluated with Apple’s App Store and their iPhone and iPad devices.  Android with Google Play.

# of Devices

1.3 billion smartphone devices were expected to ship in 2014. Heading into the holiday season in 2014, Apple had been steadily losing market share – to Android.  Blackberry was down as well.

OS Market Share

But Apple’s Q1 (Oct – Dec ’14) was a record in more ways than one. They reported shipping 74.5 millions devices – besting their previous record in shipments by 50%.  iOS share jumped to 15%.  Apple generated $18b in profit – the most ever reported for a public company.

Is that Tim Cook in his playing days?  By any measure, and with any dance – the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been smash hits…home runs…touchdowns…

Mobile OS Market Share

Developer Revenues

Apple reports paying out $10 billion to  developers in 2014.

Between announcements at Google’s I/O conference and data from App Annie and others, we can estimate the Google Play Store generated roughly $9 billion in revenues, paying developers around $6.3 billion.

android vs ios

These payouts do not include any ad revenues or off-app revenues generated from the mobile apps in these app stores.

Android has 5x the market share of Apple but only 60% of the revenues for two primary reasons:

  1. Android is the primary OS on <$200 devices
  2. Android has a far greater reach in emerging markets

Two, overlapping groups that are less interested in buying lives in Candy Crush than in Messaging Apps.

# of Apps

Having a high number of apps available in the app store could be seen as a positive – as more apps is more choice for users and a sign of strength for the platform.  Or more apps could simply mean more competition.

2014 was the first year that Google was able to report that their Google Play store was home to more apps than the App Store.

Apple and Google Apps

Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester. “To me [apps] are the glue that sticks the whole ecosystem together because they offer brands and developers a direct opportunity to connect with their customers.”

Given that both stores host over 1 million apps, the data rather shows the divergence in each company’s app store management strategy.

Apple reviews and approves apps in a process that can take weeks. Stories of inconsistencies in Apple’s review process are abundant. Denials, incoherent responses from Apple reviewers, contradictory statements and then reversals of denials are shared often among developers and publishers.

Google Play, on the other hand, works more like creating a website on a platform like Blogger or Tumblr. Submit and your app is live in 24 hours.

# of Downloads

While Android has garnered around 80% market share globally, Google Play only accounts for 60% more downloads.  Now we are talking  60% more of a huge # – around 25 billion for Apple vs 40 billion downloads for Google Play.

Android users download around 50 apps annually to Apple users’ 75.


With mobile app advertising spend estimated at $35b in 2014 and predicted to grow to $75b by 2018, downloads matter.  App store payouts is only part of the story.

So who wins?

Just like this year’s Super Bowl – we all do.

Of course it depends on your target market, but having two of the largest companies competing (not to mention Facebook and Amazon), is good for the marketplace and great for those invested in this explosive growth.

Seahawks 24 – Patriots 17.

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