Just like with the crown for app downloads and the total number of apps, it seems it’s inevitable that Android will dominate the mobile app market in terms of revenues, too. It’s unclear whether it already does or not, because ABI Research says:
Android smartphone app revenues will increase from 59.1% to 65.9% when compared to iOS smartphone app revenues over the next twelve months, said ABI.
At first glance you might think Android already has 65.9% of the total app revenue, but I think what they’re trying to say is that Android is making 65.9% of whatever Apple is making. Even so, the good news is that the percentage is increasing fast. In fact, Android’s app revenue grew 2x since a year ago. It’s really only a matter of time (a year?) before Android surpasses the iOS platform in terms of total revenue made for developers.
ABI Research also says Android will have reached $6.8 billion by the end of 2013, but again it’s unclear whether they mean that’s what they made in the whole year, or so far (since 2008). My guess is this is the total number since Android’s inception, because that’s how Apple talks about it, too.
Personally, I find these numbers representing how much you’ve made since the app store was launched pretty misleading, because it’s completely irrelevant for developers. What they want to know is how much they can make right now, or even this year. It doesn’t matter what others have made in the past, a few years ago.
This is how you get in a situation where perhaps Apple has made $10 billion for developers so far, but from that total number, only $3 billion will be paid for 2013, while Android, thanks to its high-growth rate, may have only $6.8 billion, in total, but will make $4 billion for developers in 2013. Which one would be better for a developer to know? The total revenue, or how much they’re making this year? I think the latter is a lot more relevant to the developer’s plans. But Apple has kept using the first, because they knew they had a large head start, and their total numbers would look a lot better than Android’s numbers.
At this point, Android seems unstoppable when it comes to winning every metric, and if it hasn’t won one already, it’s only a matter of time before it will, and soon it will truly be the #1 platform for developers to target.