BlackBerry, MS miss popular apps

Michael Carroll
27 May 2013

Demand for a third mobile operating system could be stymied by a lack of leading iOS and Android applications, research by Canalys suggests.

A study of the top 50 free, and top 50 paid for, applications on Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the US found that only 34% are available in the stores of Microsoft’s Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Canalys drew its figures from each application’s aggregated rankings during the first fortnight of May. The research found the Windows Phone store contained 16 of the top 50 free App Store apps and 22 of Google Play’s free apps. Microsoft’s outlet also held 14 of the top 50 paid for App Store apps, and 13 for Google. Although BlackBerry fared worse – 5 of 50 free App Store; 11 for Google, and 9 and 11 respectively for paid apps – the measure is for its latest BB10 operating system, which is still young relative to its rivals.

Senior analyst, Tim Shepherd, points out consumers may well stick with the top two app stores rather than risk missing out on ‘must have’ apps by choosing Microsoft or BlackBerry.

“These stats underscore the scale of the job Microsoft and BlackBerry each still face in their respective bids to build up their app ecosystems,” he notes, adding. “The availability of key apps is a factor in motivating consumers’ initial mobile device purchasing decisions, and it will only become more so. But moreover, it is a major factor in determining ongoing consumer satisfaction.”

While Microsoft and BlackBerry have ground to cover, research firm IDC believes there is growing demand for a viable third platform to rival Apple and Google.

“[E]xamination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, referring to first quarter smartphone shipments by operating system.

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