The App Store saved us from carriers. But who will save us now?

When Apple introduced the App Store ten years ago, it became apparent to anyone paying attention that it was going to eat the network carriers’ lunch. Up until then, the carriers ruled the mobile ecosystem, providing the pipes, content, and services consumers were looking for. Carriers offered their own stores to download ringtones, themes, apps, and games. But Apple didn’t work with carriers (save for the iPhone exclusivity deal) because it didn’t need to. Its revolutionary iPhone and app ecosystem were clearly the future, and carriers were playing Apple’s game now.
Carriers, then, were relegated to their worst fear: becoming “dumb pipes” that simply delivered content to its customers instead of controlling it all. At first, many didn’t see what a huge paradigm shift the Apple App Store was for the mobile industry. “Apple runs its App Store in a closed environment, not sharing the revenue with AT&T. Since the average monthly phone bill for an iPhone user is $95.34 and the average bill for other users is $59.59, AT&T probably isn’t too worried about this,” wrote James Quintana Pearce for GigaOm in 2009.
Those who underestimated the power of the App Store didn’t understand that not only did users need to go to the App Store to find apps and content, but Apple managed to turn it into a destination that consumers wanted to visit. iPhone users constantly peruse the App Store to find apps that can unlock more potential for their smartphones. The simple, universal value proposition? Whatever you want your iPhone to do, there’s an app for that.
Even as the App Store accelerated into this brave new future, the carriers remained in neutral. While networks still wanted to dictate user experience by throttling access (an approach initially defeated by net neutrality), Apple saw the wisdom of instead focusing on the end products of content and apps, rather than the pipe. Today, carriers would love to be content makers as well as content distributors: T-Mobile bundles unlimited Netflix streaming into their service, and Sprint gives Hulu away. We’ve also seen former ISPs snap up media companies, like Verizon’s purchase of Yahoo and Comcast merging with NBC Universal.
But this wasn’t yet the case in 2012. “Customers at large only want one thing: a dumb pipe,” wrote Trevor Gilbert for Pando. “The argument is that carriers have a responsibility to carry data to and fro, with no interference, just like energy and water utilities.” The “connectivity as a basic service” mantra Gilbert refers to caught on, though the idea of mobility as a public utility has yet to take root in most parts of the world.
Either way, a wave of OTT content and services, in-app transactions, P2P payments, and mobile shopping soon began to eat away at carriers’ market territory. Just three years after the App Store launched, the global telecom industry was losing 4.5% ARPU per year to apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, much to the benefit of consumers.
Still, the networks fought back by exploring new ways to work with their rivals. Both Apple and Google Play support carrier billing as an option. “Additionally, many top social, gaming, and security segment brands have started to use carrier billing,” wrote Gerri Kodres of Fortumo in an op-ed for LightReading.com.
Today, while the networks’ share of the mobile pie is growing from carrier billing, streaming services, mobile payments, and digital wallet top-ups, they still lag behind. As a result, the elimination of net neutrality is core to their strategy to take back control and remain relevant.
Even in the midst of the just-approved Time Warner merger, which will cement the company’s footprint in the crucial realm of mobile content, AT&T is reporting consolidated revenues of $38 billion, up 13x from when the App Store came to be. The Sprint and T-Mobile merger promises them fierce competition with Verizon digging in as well. Comparatively, in the same time frame, the App Store has run from zero in 2009 to about $7 billion in 2010 to about $60 billion in 2017 (about 2x Google Play).
That said, is it really fair to still apply the “dumb” label to networks today? Have the world’s largest carriers actually been reduced to the dumb pipes consumers wanted? Perhaps not—the argument is getting tougher to make from the consumer point of view. The combination of relaxed anti-competition regulation and the death of net neutrality has huge implications for the mobile ecosystem and beyond. With networks consolidating power via acquisitions of media companies and prioritizing their own services at will, consumers may soon be faced with a mobile industry that must bow to the power of carriers.
Companies like Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Netflix are at risk of having their services throttled in the near future. Networks have proven time and time again that if they can bully companies into paying to play, they will. Alphabet likely saw this threat coming—it has created its own “dumb pipes”: Google Fiber and Project Fi, though they are still far from becoming a threat to US carriers.
So no, carriers are no longer the “dumb pipes” consumers hoped they would be. They’ve now begun morphing into the giant monopolies of old and if they continue going unchecked, it could lead to a dearth of innovation that will affect a multitude of industries for years to come.
“One sad note though is how much the world of video is increasingly closed to startups,” writes Danny Crichton for TechCrunch. “When companies like Netflix, which today closed with a market cap of almost $158 billion, can’t necessarily get enough negotiating power to ensure that consumers have direct access to them, no startup can ever hope to compete.”
While the App Store may have wrestled away control from carriers over the last decade, we’re at a point now where the carriers are more powerful than ever. And that’s not something Apple can save us from this time.


About Katie Jansen

Katie is Chief Marketing Officer at AppLovin, a comprehensive platform where app developers of all sizes can connect with their ideal consumers and get discovered. Business Insider named Katie one of the most powerful women in mobile advertising in 2014 and 2015.
Before joining AppLovin, Katie founded the boutique marketing agency Igniting Solutions and is a board member today while it continues operation. Prior to founding Igniting Solutions, Katie was VP of Marketing at PlayFirst, a mobile gaming publisher acquired by Glu in May of 2014.
In addition to her work at AppLovin, Katie is an advocate for women in tech and workplace equality. She serves as marketing adviser to organizations including Women 2.0 and Women in Wireless, and mentors other women in tech. Katie also works with organizations such as No Kid Hungry and Restoration Missions.

The Symbiotic Relationship of the OSI Model and Application Performance

It’s no secret that Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is becoming a critical competency in today’s enterprise networks. After all, so many enterprises are moving to a cloud based model that leverages tiers of service, which brings unforeseen complexity into the task of keeping things running smoothly.
Traditionally, most IT managers have thought that application performance was a direct result of the static resources available, focusing on elements such as processor performance, available ram, and perhaps the traffic saturation associated with the Local Area Network (LAN). Although monitoring those elements still remains critical for providing adequate performance, the APM game has changed, or more appropriately evolved, to something that must address much more that the status of the basic hardware that makes up a network.
That change (or evolution) has been driven by the adoption of technologies such as cloud services, hybrid cloud deployments, mobility, content delivery networks (CDNs), hosted databases and so on. Those new technologies have changed the basic dynamic of how an application is delivered to an enduser and how the endpoint interacts with the data associated with the application.
A good example of that comes in the form of a line of business application delivered by a cloud service, where a hosted application server delivers the application to an endpoint via a browser connection and the associated data is stored on a hosted database and the connectivity to the application and data is provided via the internet over a VPN. In that situation there are multiple elements that have to work in concert to provide acceptable application availability and performance, and any one of those “tiers” can have an effect on the application. What’s more, any single tier can impact any other, especially when virtualization is involved or a software defined solution (SDN, SDDC, SDS, etc.) underpins operations.
Take the above example and apply it to the real world, where an IT manager gets a trouble ticket forwarded from the help desk that simply states “user is complaining of a slow application”.  For that IT manager, the big question becomes where to start. Using the traditional approach, the starting point becomes taking a look at the hardware and network. However, that approach is all but useless in today’s world.
Today, the IT Manager must turn to an APM platform to track down a problem and getting the proper intelligence out of that platform is a critical component for successfully remediating any application performance problem. That said, the typical APM platform is little more than a measurement and reporting tool, it will assist an IT manager in solving the problem, but that IT manager must have an understanding of how the tiers of a hybrid, cloud served network delivers an application. An understanding that brings us to how the OSI model can serve as a tier template for application delivery.
If you think about the seven layers of the OS model and what each is responsible for in the realm of network communications, it becomes clear how some of those layers can be mapped to the tiers of application delivery.
The OSI Model is broken out into layers, which has specific functions. Each of those functions map directly to the movement of information across a network.
OSI_Model
If you align the basic concept with APM, it becomes clear how a symbiotic relationship is formed between application delivery and the constructs of the OSI model. Below is a Citrix based example.
EG_OSI
When comparing the two models, it becomes evidently clear that the OSI model is intertwined with the best practices of APM troubleshooting.
The question here becomes one of “how well do IT Managers understand the implications of APM and how the understanding the OSI Model becomes a critical competency for success.
For more information on the best practices for APM, please take a look at a webinar I participated in for eG Innovations, which can be found at http://www.eginnovations.com/webinar/application-performance-monitoring-and-management-solution/eg-enterprise-monitoring-tool.htm.

‘Poshmark’ adds retail brands to its seller community

Poshmark announced today that it will start adding well-known retail brands to its active community of women’s fashion-focused buyers and sellers.

The move is pretty significant for Poshmark. The service launched in 2011 as an online marketplace that brings buyers and sellers together and has, until now, been a platform for designed primarily for clothing and accessory resale. There are over a million sellers on Poshmark uploading the inventory equivalent of a Nordstorm store every week. With the combined power of Poshmark’s sellers, the platform is essentially opening just over 50 Nordstrom stores each year, with more than 5,000 brands represented in said inventory.

Not only is the seller community active, though — Poshmark’s buyers are also a very active bunch. Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra highlights the importance of the strong, active community to Poshmark’s success. Much of the company’s efforts revolve around building user feeds and providing both buyers and sellers with tools that keep users engaged.

“The result is that today, our average user opens the app somewhere between 7 to 9 times a day, and spends somewhere between 20 to 25 minutes a day in the app,” says Chandra. “So, you have some Instagram/Facebook-level of engagement in the platform.”

Those are some pretty impressive usage stats. Over the last few years as Poshmark has been scaling rapidly, with their users following suit. Though many of the sellers in the Poshmark network likely started selling out of their own closets, some have begun tapping local wholesale markets and, as Chandra says, “effectively converting their closet into a full-blown fashion boutique.”

That said, this is why the move to expand into retail opportunities makes a lot of sense. Poshmark’s expansion is going to center around a wholesale portal that’ll give sellers the opportunity to connect with brands and buy merchandise to sell in their online Poshmark stores through said portal. For many sellers, this means access to new wholesale channels and inventory. Style Mafia and Snob Essentials are among the first round of brands spearheading the retail expansion, but dozens more are set to join the charge.

Snob Essentials Wholesale Closet Edit

“We wanted fashion brands to be able to connect this massive sales force of one million sellers that we’ve created and also for sellers to have access to the best of the best and even to the new fashion brands that are emerging,” says Chandra. “So to do that, we’ve created a wholesale portal, which allows fashion brands to stock up wholesale inventory into that portal and for our sellers to come in and shop… and really buy wholesale inventory directly from their brands on our platform, and then use that existing commerce and logistics engine to service their platform.”

On the buyer side, the Poshmark experience will give buyers the flexibility to choose between resale and retail items, or to browse both. Chandra compares Poshmark’s vast catalog and new shopping options to Uber, where users have some flexibility in tailoring their experience, whether it’s UberX or Black Car service. “It gives a flexibility that shoppers have really never had on any platform out there to choose how and what they shop.”

Though Poshmark is expanding its services into an entirely new arena with retail opportunities, much of Poshmark’s main focus is unchanged. Because Poshmark’s strength doesn’t necessary lie with specific brands or a single outstanding feature, it lies within the community. This expansion isn’t an attempt to overhaul user experience, but to give the buying, selling and brand communities new ways to access one another.

Poshmark Wholesale Portal Edit

“In one shot, [brands] can move inventory into a group of sellers that they never had access to. For sellers, they can come to one area, choose the brands they like, and stock up their stores in ones shot. And for our shoppers, they start to get access to an increasingly large selection of merchandise, which gives them the power to shop resale and retail. And we’re launching the wholesale portal partnership with over a dozen different fashion brands, with many many more in the pipeline.”

In addition to the retail wholesale portal expansion, Poshmark is also announcing  a new “Poshmark Fashion Entrepreneurs Fund”, which will award $500 grants (not loans, grants) to 50 Poshmark sellers to help them begin scaling their business.

“That, I think, is very much who we are,” says Chandra. “Our growth is synergistic with the growth of our community, and everything we do is really to support our community to grow, which ultimately drives the growth of Poshmark.”

‘YourTrainer’ app wants to help you work out smarter, not harder

Working out is hard. And most of the time, it sucks. Like all things that suck, though, tech is trying to making working out better. It’ll likely be awhile before our devices can work out for us, but in the meantime, there are a few companies trying to help folks work out on their own terms. Enter Your Trainer: the startup behind the app of the same name that employs user feedback to generate a personalized exercising regimen.

We all work long hours, put in overtime, drink too much coffee, get too little sleep, and have Netflix queues that overfloweth. We buy gym memberships, go regularly for three weeks, make excuses and then cancel over the phone in shame two months later. It’s fine, it happens to the best of us. Maybe it’s because actually going to the gym is a big enough pain in the ass that we’re willing to bail. Maybe it’s because we don’t have anyone keeping us honest. Maybe it’s just because we have no real idea how to work out effectively. Normally, this is where a personal trainer comes in.

Personal trainers are great. Really. If they’re qualified and mostly decent human being-wise and care about helping you reach your goals, they can be a huge asset in the fitness game. But they’re also really expensive. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, personal trainers run an average rate of about $50/hour. For those of us ballin’ on a budget, that lands us pretty much right back where we started: on the couch.

Don’t get too comfortable just yet though — there might be a better way to work out.

At first glance, Your Trainer might seem remarkably similar to DailyBurn or any of the other dozens video fitness apps available. But where Your Trainer differs from the DailyBurns of the world is the ability to tailor workouts to you body, goals, and preferences and to adjust those workouts in realtime. You get a series of short training videos that changes based on your feedback and needs.

“What we set out to do was leverage technology, exercise science, and behavioral psychology to provide all of the benefits of a personal trainer,” says Your Trainer CEO and founder Larry Cotter.

It works like this: Your Trainer features over 3,000 short 3-minute videos with a variety of personal trainers. These videos are strung together to create workout streams that are personalized, based on the information you give the app about yourself (height, weight, age, goals, injuries, obstacles) and your preferences (I hate burpees but love Russian Twists*).

Cotter calls these videos “the periodic table of exercise elements.” From this massive library of fitness videos, YourTrainer’s learning algorithm (which we’ll get to in a moment) draws up a workout stream that’s built for you.

Which brings us to why, exactly, this app is called Your Trainer. Like a personal trainer, the app has information about you and uses it to find effective exercise elements to put you to work. Your Trainer also provides you with the closest digital equivalent of turning to your personal trainer and saying, “If you ever make me do that again, I swear I will never work out again.”

“We provide you with these interactive controls,” says Cotter. “Say something hurts your ankle — well, you can ‘dislike’ it and say it hurts. Then we know to skip that immediately and learn from that, so the next time through, you’re not going to get that exercise, or other things that are hurting your ankle.”

Your Trainer comes in three pricing tiers: Weekly ($6.99 per week), Monthly ($9.99 per month) and Yearly ($99.99 per year) for unlimited workouts.

The goal? Cotter says that Your Trainer is looking to demystify process of getting fit. “What we want to do is remove the guesswork out of the exercise routine.”

*Obviously not true–no one loves Russian Twists.

Maybe I’m just a dumb millennial, but I’m going to keep using Venmo

Venmo, a mobile payment app popular among college students and recent grads, has security holes “you could drive a truck through,” according to an article posted on Slate this week. The report was largely based on one man’s story about how a grifter was able to steal $2850 from his account before he was ultimately reimbursed.

The fact that Venmo doesn’t offer two-factor authentication is indefensible, so I won’t defend it. But I’m also not going to delete the app off my phone and cancel my account.

Still using venmo

In fact, I used Venmo last night — as I do fairly often — to reimburse my girlfriend for a magazine she bought for me because I didn’t have cash and it was the easiest way to pay her back. (Ostensibly I wanted the March issue of Vogue for the Apple Watch spread, but I was most interested in the cover story about Taylor Swift and Karly Kloss.)

I’m not going to stop using Venmo because its security is actually appropriate for the service it provides. In fact, I think it’s much more likely that my insecure magnetic credit card will get swiped by an ATM skimmer or through a security breach at a store like Home Depot. It’s simply not worth giving up Venmo’s convenience. And based on the number of transactions I saw in my Venmo social feed from last night, my friends agree.

Sure, Venmo might not have FDIC or credit card consumer protections, but it is legally required to help its customers recover funds from unauthorized transfers. One of the scariest details in the Slate story is that you have two business days under Venmo policy to contact the company after you spot fraud in order to limit your liability to $50 — even if the fraudsters stole close to $3000 (Venmo’s monthly limit.) After that, you could lose up to $500.

But those scary-sounding consumer protections aren’t exclusively Venmo policy — they stem from federal policy that covers unauthorized transfers for debit cards as well as smartphone transaction services like PayPal and Chase QuickPay. It is likely no different than what your bank offers for electronic transfers.

From the Federal Reserve’s regulation E:

Reg E unauthorized transfers

Plus, it’s in Venmo’s interest to make sure its customers aren’t paying for fraudulent charges. Fraud is not part of its business model — in fact, fraud almost certainly leads to Venmo losing money, either because it has to pay or through bad PR. (If you’re a Venmo user who has had thousands of dollars stolen from you and you haven’t been made whole, I’d love to talk to you. Email me.)

Here’s the statement Venmo gave me:

At Venmo, our most important job is to protect our customers and provide a safe experience. We are continuously improving product and security measures but there is always more to do. We have teams dedicated to fraud prevention, customer support, and operations working tirelessly behind the scenes, and we always guarantee our users’ funds. Our customers put their trust in us and we take that responsibility seriously.

Just this morning, I changed the password on my account and immediately got an email from Venmo alerting me to the changes. It’s not perfect: A request to change email ended up sending a message requesting I verify the new email address, but nothing to my old one saying it had been changed.

One real issue is that Venmo’s support line is an email address and it doesn’t get back to customers quickly. Venmo clearly needs to improve that, but the fact that it doesn’t offer a phone line actually seems like a good thing to me, because it means a slick social engineer can’t get a call center employee on the line and sweet-talk him into giving up personal information.

Ultimately, I’m going to keep using Venmo for a few reasons:

  1. All my friends are already using it. If I’m trying to pay someone back for, say, a beer at a bar, I usually don’t need to ask her to download an app.
  2. It works and it’s easy — I’ve made hundreds of transactions and I haven’t had a problem yet. If I do, I feel confident in predicting that Venmo will eventually make it right.
  3. When you link it to a bank account, it’s free to both pay people and cash out.

If you’re really worried about security, you can unlink your bank account, as some of my colleagues have done. I added a PIN to my Venmo app — locking it with my fingerprint on my iPhone — but that seems superfluous because you need my PIN to get access to the phone’s contents in the first place. And when Venmo introduces two-factor authentication, I’m going to turn that on too. But I’m going to keep using Venmo, and frankly, I’m going to keep publicly posting many of my transactions.*

*For the record, I’ve labeled many Venmo memos as “drugs,” but never actually for a transaction that included drugs.

5:40PM: This article has been corrected to clarify the emails that Venmo sends when account settings are changed.

ESPN’s flagship iOS news app now works on both iPhone and iPad

ESPN pushed a big update to its flagship news app for iOS on Thursday. Now simply called ESPN — ditching the “Sportscenter” appellation — the app sports a new look, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio integration, and importantly for iPad-toting sports fans, it is a universal app that works on both phones and tablets running iOS.

It’s not that you couldn’t get scores from ESPN on an iPad before — the “Worldwide Leader” had a confusingly named and poorly-reviewed iPad app called ESPN ScoreCenter XL. But the company is following a new digital strategy, announced last fall, in which it is making cuts to its lineup of apps. Previously, the company had 45 different apps for various sports niches, including separate apps focusing on fantasy leagues, radio, and individual sports like soccer. Now, the game plan is to work on fewer, more individually personalized apps.

screen480x480 (1)

screen480x480

The design language in the new iOS app is a preview of what ESPN’s new website will look like when it re-launches on April 1st. The new design emphasizes performance and speed, and is divided into three main sections: A feed for scores, a feed for news, and a new section called Now that combines social media, quick commentary, and ESPN photos and videos. The iPad version of the app sticks your favorite team logos on the bottom right hand corner of the screen for easy access. Of course, the app will still push alert notifications for scores and game starting times.

You can listen to ESPN Radio in the app, but internal WatchESPN links for live sports or highlights will send you to that service’s dedicated app, although an ESPN executive told Gigaom’s Janko Roettgers that eventually you’ll be able to play WatchESPN content in the main ESPN app.

The new ESPN app is available from the iTunes App Store. Unfortunately, fans using Android devices will have to wait “a few months” for a similar update.

 

Kik CEO: “Hey internet are you listening? Messaging has peaked”

It has certainly been an interesting month for messaging apps in the U.S.

Around the same time the New York Times penned its zeitgeist proclamation that messaging apps like Snapchat will become hubs of content and commerce like China’s WeChat, we learned from Comscore that these apps have plateaued in the U.S. in terms of growth. The companies are still attracting new users, but the rate of adoption is slowing in the 18+ crowd.

Right on schedule, Snapchat launched its Discover media feature this week, showcasing content from companies like CNN and Vice in a big departure from its former chatting focused strategy. Was Snapchat leaving messaging behind?

Kik CEO Ted Livingston, one of Snapchat’s biggest messaging competitors in the U.S., has been wondering the same thing. Although the apps is ranked sixth in U.S. social networking apps by iOS download, and 26th in apps overall, Kik is also struggling from a slowdown in growth.

I caught up with Livingston to get his take on what’s happening in the U.S. messaging app world, what he thinks of Snapchat’s Discover tool, and whether a “WeChat of the West” is still possible. What follows has been edited for length, order, and clarity.

Kik just hit 200 million registered users, but the Comscore data showed Kik –and all the other messaging apps — have flatlined in terms of growth. What did you think of that?

I can tell you from Kik’s perspective, we’re not growing as fast in the U.S. as we were in the past. I can tell you it’s not bullshit. We were very relieved to see [the Comscore data]. We were thinking maybe there’s something wrong with just us, but it’s everyone. Hey internet are you listening? Messaging has peaked!

What do you think is happening? Is messaging not actually the future of social media?

App adoption in general is plateauing in the U.S. On top of that smart phone adoption has plateaued in the U.S.

Chat in the West is a commodity. When a 15-year-old kid says, ‘Can we chat on Kik mom?’ Mom is like, ‘No, why would I?’

For us that’s where the [WeChat-like] platform play starts making sense. One you have critical density among youth and you have these non-commodity services on top of chat, teens will bring in everyone else they know. They’ll bring in parents because they need to buy something for them, or a friend because they need them to plan events. The platform may become a ticket to the rest of the demographic.

So that’s where the future growth will come from?

Yes.

How does the plateau impact your plans in the present?

In a world where we are the only one plateauing, then we have the worst strategy. We’ve got to figure out how to keep up with everyone else.

When everyone is plateauing the question is what do we do now?

On that note, what do you think of Snapchat’s Discover? Is this the beginning of its big WeChat play?

Now it’s less about connecting with your friends as following brands. I’m like, ‘Oh shit, they’re just becoming a media company?’

Some have argued that media is just their first step in becoming a portal to other experiences, like gaming or personal budgeting apps.

I would say it’s definitely a step to becoming a platform…a broadcast platform (as opposed to a messaging platform). Snapchat started somewhere in between Kik and Instagram: private broadcast. But with the Stories feature they have gone more and more towards broadcast. So they are now a broadcast tool.

What is the best content to go from a broadcast tool to broadcast platform? To me it’s media. Makes complete sense.

Did you see that coming?

I did not, that’s not what I would’ve done. To me it’s very relieving because it takes some pressure off us. A messenger by itself is extremely difficult to monetize and it always has been in history. On the other side it’s brutally simple to figure out how to monetize a broadcast network like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and now Snapchat.

Maybe [Snapchat] has a great answer [with Discover] but it takes them further away from being the operating system that WeChat has been.

Facebook owns the four most-downloaded mobile apps in 2014

Mobile analytics firm App Annie released a report on app trends on Wednesday that sorts out what kind of software people downloaded on their phones and tablets in 2014. The answer: Facebook-owned apps, including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, were the four most-downloaded apps worldwide when combining iOS and Android downloads in 2014, according to the report.

Because App Annie doesn’t put games and apps in the same category, the global list doesn’t include titles like Candy Crush Saga or Subway Surfers, which might account for more total downloads than Facebook’s utilities. But Facebook’s performance is still impressive, and an indication that the company’s multiple-app strategy might be a success. On the other hand, most of Facebook’s homegrown apps — such as Paper, Groups and Rooms — do not show up on any other top charts provided by App Annie. Facebook purchased both Instagram and WhatsApp.

Top Global App Downloads 2014

The top app worldwide in terms of revenue in 2014 was Line, a Japanese-based messaging service popular in parts of Asia. Its sibling gaming app, Line Play, clocked in at number three in terms of worldwide iOS and Google Play revenue. (Pandora was second.) On the gaming side, Clash of Clans generated the most revenue, although fellow freemium sensation Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded.

In a reminder of why both [company]Google[/company] and [company]Facebook[/company] want to break into China, neither company placed a single app in the top ten iOS apps either in terms of revenue or downloads, because neither company widely offers its services in China. The Chinese app leaderboards are filled with apps from Chinese web companies like Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu.

Reflecting the fact that China is quickly becoming the the biggest market for iOS devices, App Annie found that China generated the third most revenue for iOS among countries in 2014, taking the third-place spot from the United Kingdom.  Japan ended up being the country that generated the most revenue for Android developers during the period. Games remained the most downloaded category of apps across countries.

The single most downloaded app in the United States in 2014 was Facebook Messenger, thanks to Facebook requiring its users to download a separate app to use the service. Pandora Radio was the most downloaded music app in the United States, landing at the fourth most downloaded app excluding games, and number one in terms of getting people to pay.

United States downloads 2014

App Annie reported that there were more Google Play app downloads than iOS app downloads, but iOS apps still brought in significantly more revenue. Google Play accounted for 60 percent more downloads than iOS, but iOS apps generated 70 percent more revenue.

The entire App Annie report is worth a look and you can find it here.