Last week, Apple published a report done by Analysis Group, an international economics consulting firm, under the headline 'Report finds third-party apps see global success on the App Store'.

The Apple press release and the report itself are worth discussing separately: the former is full of carefully-polished PR points, but the latter is a legitimately interesting whitepaper with a lot of fascinating industry data.

  • Does it prove there are third-party apps thriving on iOS? Yes, it does!
  • Does it show there are apps managing to succeed despite any systemic advantages Apple allows to their bundled competitors? Also, yes.
  • Does it prove that the current walled garden reality of the App Store, 15-30% commission rate and all, is functioning perfectly? Hmm…

Setting aside PR spin, it's probably best to take this analysis at face value for exactly what it shows: in certain markets and for certain verticals, users prefer apps not made by Apple. Nothing more, nothing less.

Alex Bauer

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