SAN FRANCISCO â€” It was bound to happen: Google Play downloads of apps jumped ahead of those at Apple’s App Store.
Google Play app downloads were 10% higher than at Apple’s App Store in the second quarter, according to researcher App Annie.
Shares of Apple fell 0.2% to $452.53 in regular trading Wednesday. Google dipped 0.4% to $887.75.
Revenue from downloads is still led by Apple, whose App Store boasts 2.3 times the revenue of Google Play. But that figure is fast sinking, as last quarter the researcher reported that Apple’s App Store did 2.6 times that of the revenue at Google’s app store. Also, Google Play downloads were 90% of those at the App Store in the period.
“Downloads tend to be an indicator of where things are moving, and as you start to see downloads begin to increase, that’s where you see the revenue increase,” says App Annie spokesman Marcos Sanchez.
There’s a solid catalyst for this growth: Google said on its second-quarter earnings call that Android activations have hit 900 million worldwide.
The movement underscores Apple’s sinking advantage in a world dominated by Android software, where not only do its devices face increasing competition, but its marketplace as well.
Games are key moneymakers for the app stores of both Apple and Google. Games made up more than 80% of revenue on Google Play vs. about 75% at Apple’s App Store. Revenue from games played in Japan was a bright point for Google Play.
“You have enormous players like GungHo bringing in revenue,” Sanchez says.
Google’s Android mobile operating system commanded 74.4% of the worldwide smartphone market in the first quarter of 2013, according to researcher Gartner, compared with 56.9% a year ago.
Apple’s iOS mobile operating system held 18.2% of the worldwide market in the first quarter, a position that slid from 22.5% a year ago.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment. Google did not respond to requests for comment.