Third-party apps often overshadow Apple’s in the App Store, study finds

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Apple has put forth a new report indicating that third-party App Stores have found success and popularity around the world, beating Apple’s own apps in most cases.

The report, conducted by economists at the Analysis Group, focuses on the regional and global success of third-party apps on Apple platforms. Apple says this demonstrates “the broad possibilities for developers and the wide range of choice for consumers around the world”.

Since the launch of the App Store, third-party apps have grown from about 500 to more than 1.8 million, Apple says. The iPhone maker maintains 60 apps in the App Store itself.

“Today, more than 99.99 percent of iOS apps are created by third-party developers, fueling a growing and competitive market that contributes to a dynamic user experience for the benefit of both Apple and third-party developers,” Apple wrote.

According to the report, third-party apps are the only options available in different types of categories. In most other categories, the report points out that Apple apps are far from the most used or most popular.

“With many app types, Apple’s own apps are responsible for a relatively small proportion of app usage among iPhone users,” Apple writes. “This is the case, although some Apple apps are pre-installed to enable core functionality of the device.”

For example, the most popular communication apps in the US are Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. Spotify and Pandora are first and second in music streaming, while Google Maps and Waze are the most popular navigation apps in the country.

In addition, the report points out that users often switch between multiple apps in a single category, such as using different messaging apps to communicate with their friends, family, and colleagues. Apple says this underlines how easy it is to switch between apps and the scope for developers.

Apple says it gives developers a variety of tools to help them create useful or innovative apps.

The report provides a clear counterweight to growing criticism of Apple’s market power. In the US, Europe and other regions, lawmakers and regulators are cracking down on alleged antitrust violations by tech giants.

Some of the allegations include self-preference or tech giants using their market power to bolster their own first-party apps on platforms they own or maintain. US lawmakers are considering a bill that could end the practice in the country while similar legislation is underway in the European Union.

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