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Windows Mobile apps are more expensive than iPhone apps

The mean app price for the Windows market is nearly two times higher than the App Store.

[Update: Several readers have correctly pointed out that the source of the data I used for the post, was for Windows Mobile apps, so I decided to tweak the title to reflect that. The goal of this post is to examine the marketplace for Windows smartphone apps prior to the much-anticipated launch of Windows Phone 7. I hope to do an update a few months post-launch.]

The Windows Marketplace for Mobile now has about 1,400 apps spread across 16 categories. In this short post I’ll provide some basic statistics* and compare it with the grandaddy of app stores – the U.S. iTunes store.

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First let’s look at the distribution of apps across categories. Like the iPhone and Android platforms, Windows Phone 6.x are rich in game apps. Given that there are far fewer Windows Phone apps, it may take some time before we see the variety of categories found in iTunes. There are large iPhone categories (medical**, education, sports … ) that aren’t part of the taxonomy for Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

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More than 90% of the 280,000+ iTunes apps aren’t free, compared to 78% of apps available on Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Below are the share of free/paid apps across the different categories.

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At least for now, Windows Phone 6.x apps are pricier than iPhone apps. The mean price of a paid iPhone app is $3.43, compared to $6.16 for paid apps available on Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Welcome news for the many developers gearing up to produce apps for Windows Phone 7!

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(*) Data for this post: U.S. iTunes store through 10/31/2010, limited to iPhone apps; Windows Marketplace for Mobile through 11/3/2010.

(**) The Medical category was added several months after the launch of the iTunes app store.

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  • Ronnie

    Where is the paid/free breakdown for iTunes App Store?

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Ronnie,

      HERE is the breakdown of Free/Paid apps by U.S. iPhone app categories.

      Ben

  • techieg

    This is a very wrong picture. Comparing “Windows Mobile” Marketplace and refering to it as “Windows Phone 7″ Marketplace when there is no website made public yet for Windows Phione 7 apps. Just so you know, they are not the same, you need to take down your article. By the way, it is up to developers to price their apps however they want and some may want to price high for a new mobile platform and reduce price over time as is common practice with most things out there anyway.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi techieg,

      Good point on the version of the Marketplace. I changed the text to read “Windows Phone 6.x” instead of “Windows Phone 7″.

      My goal was to provide an overview of the Windows Phone ecosystem as it stands right now, and I think the post does that. And that includes pricing, which of course will change as the Windows Phone app ecosystem grows.

      We’ll be keeping tabs on the Windows Phone marketplace, so expect updates once the Phone 7 app store gets traction.

      Ben

  • Ken

    I really don’t know where you are getting your numbers but from my looking at App Marketplace in the Zune software, I do not see how you are coming up with the mean price that you are spouting in this article. For instance: In the News & Weather category, you say that the mean cost is $6.55. Well there are 78 apps currently in the category, with a TOTAL cost of $62.87 for ALL of the apps. This gives a mean cost of 80.6 cents per app.

    And get it right, it is no longer Windows Mobile, the apps that were written for WM will not work on WP7, so the cost of those apps should not be rolled into any cost comparison.

    From what I am seeing, you REALLY need to do some better research, like going and downloading the Zune software and actually verifying what you are saying. You said that the WP7 marketplace does not have a sports category, again, WRONG! When you mess up on even the most basic of details, and your numbers are SO far off the mark, you do a dis-service to your readers and you come off looking really bad as a journalist (blogger).

    You say that there is Maps & Search category, again, WRONG, no such category at this time. And therefore by extension, the mean cost of apps in that category can not be $16.06.

    Let me help you out, download the Zune software at

    http://zune.net/en-US/products/software/download/default.htm

    No wonder the public does not trust the media, it just seems like you made up your “facts”.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Ken,
      As I indicated in the post I’m using data from Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which is the app store for Windows Phone 6.x. As I indicated in response to a previous comment:

      My goal was to provide an overview of the Windows Phone ecosystem as it stands right now, and I think the post does that. … We’ll be keeping tabs on the Windows Phone marketplace, so expect updates once the Phone 7 app store gets traction.

      We are definitely excited about WP7 and am looking forward to providing an update once the WP7 app store gets traction.
      Regards,
      Ben

  • Redace

    Can I just point out flaw in basic statistics here.
    You are comparing Itunes(200,000) app store to Win 7 store(1400 apps) and using the mean to compare the two.The mean only means something if the population are similar or very close.

  • Anthony

    Ben,

    If your “goal was to provide an overview of the Windows Phone ecosystem”, why are you talking about Windows Mobile Marketplace at all? It has NOTHING to do with Windows Phone 7. Windows Moblie is NOT Windows Phone. Not the same OS and not the same marketplace. The title of your article says “Windows Phone apps” but you use data from other platforms. WTF? What kind of ass backwards reporting is that?

    This is quite possibly the worst article I’ve ever read. You should really seek a new profession.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Anthony,

      Sorry for the confusion, I addressed the Windows version covered in the post in response to the following comments: see (1) and (2).

      Once the WP7 app store (& device) gains traction, I’ll post an update.

      Ben

  • Ken

    Then what, prey tell, was the point of the article. To tell people that WinMo apps were more costly than iPhone? So what? The title of the article is “Windows Phone apps are more expensive than iPhone apps” but you use data from WinMo? I am not even a journalist and I know that you are comparing apples and oranges, and the oranges that you are talking about are the ones that are being taken off the shelves because they are past their expiration date.

    If your going to write an article on the price of apps, maybe titling the article correctly would be a start or if you are talking Windows Phone apps, then use data on Windows Phone apps and NOT WinMo apps! Junk Journalism at it’s finest!!

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Ken,

      The point was to get a snapshot of the app ecosystem for Windows smartphones. So while technically Windows Mobile isn’t Windows Phone 7, it still represents an active marketplace for Windows smartphone apps.

      MSFT itself uses term WindowsPhone on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, hence my choice of using “Phone” in the “title”.

      And as I said earlier, once the WP7 app store (& device) gains traction, I’ll post an update.

      Ben

  • Ken

    Ben,
    No it doesn’t! Your title called out Windows Phone apps, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone are NOT the same thing!! To lump WinMo in with WinPho is just irresponsible. but I guess I will drop it because you sure don’t get that your article is just plain WRONG from the point of what your title says and the comparisons that you draw.

    WinMO is NOT Windows Phone. Windows Phone is NOT WinMO, does not look like or function like WinMo in any shape or form. The apps do not cross over at all. There is NO backward compatibility in WP7 to run WinMo apps.

    I honestly think that right now you are scrabbling to make what you said sound reasonable. The way that I read this, it seems that you are trying to tell people that if you buy a Windows Phone, your going to pay a lot more for apps, but you are using numbers that are based on WinMO app prices and NOT WinPhone, and that is irresponsible journalism at it’s finest.

    The way that you are looking at this is extremely skewed. If you are going to compare Windows Mobile to iPhone, fine, do that and state that. If your going to compare Windows Phone to iPhone, fine, do it and state that. But to lump WinMo and WinPhone together and claim (as the title says) that it just Windows Phone that you are talking about is just bad journalism period.

    Now, I will give you this, the windows site that you link to in your article does say Windows Phone, but those apps that are there are NOT the same apps that are in the Zune App marketplace. Those are WinMo apps, and yes, they are pricey. But those are NOT Windows Phone apps. MS has stated multiple times that the only two ways to get Windows Phone apps is from the marketplace in the Zune software or from the marketplace on the phone. If you look at the Zune Software you should be able to easily tell that your numbers in your article are just plain wrong.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Ken,

      1. Definitely not my intention to send price signals to consumers. If anything, I had developers in mind (“Welcome news for the many developers gearing up to produce apps for Windows Phone 7!”). Another platform that might potentially pay higher margins than iTunes is welcome news to developers.

      2. As you pointed out, the Windows Marketplace for Mobile itself uses the term WindowsPhone.

      Ben

  • stu

    Ken,

    Don’t get upset about this “article”… It is called yellow journalism and it has become pervasive across all media for the last 20 years. It was meant to get clicks, make a product look bad or promote a product over another. Just simply look at what he has written about for the the last year or so. iPad, iTunes, Android, and virtually nothing about Microsoft.

    Ben has done at least a dozen “blog posts” about iTunes and the iPhone in the last 18 months. He most likely dislikes anything Microsoft and decided to take a shot at the company the weekend before they release a major product in the US.

    It is just simply yellow journalism.

    Yellow Journalism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Stu,

      As I mentioned in my previous comment, developers may find the economics of the WinPhone app encouraging. I think many of them are exploring alternatives to the iTunes app store (see this link which I cited in the post).

      Expect more Windows Phone posts once the app store & device take off — which I believe it will.

      Ben

  • Ken

    Ben,
    Yes, the website does call it Windows Phone, but just because of that does not mean that a “responsible” journalist would distort the facts. Go and download the Zune Software and get a look at the actual apps and prices of the Windows phone apps.

    I notice that you have not addressed the fact that WinMo and WinPhone are two completely different platforms. I sure hope that you are not getting paid to write this blog, because if you are, you’re stealing from your employer. You can’t seem to acknowledge that the information that you are putting out is blatantly false. Using information about Window Mobile and saying that it applies to Windows Phone is WRONG on SOOOOO many levels.

  • stu

    Ben,

    I sure you will post more on Window Phone and I am sure it will have the same “positive approach” you put on this article.

    Enjoy…

  • John

    There is something *very* wrong here. I just went through all the lifestyle apps in my Windows Phone 7′s marketplace and did not find a SINGLE application that was $10! Where are these random numbers from?

    So much for doing ANY research on the subject! Also, there are no business center, maps & search and reference categories on the WP7 marketplace.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi John
      Please see Update at the beginning of the post: as indicated in each of the charts, the data source is Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
      Ben

  • Bob

    Ben, you should really just come clean. You screwed up. You had no idea that the WM marketplace was unrelated to the WP7 marketplace, and now that that fact has been pointed out to you, you’re belatedly trying to say that it was your plan all along.

    Honesty will make everyone feel better.

  • Sam

    You can return a windows phone app you have purchased within 24 hours if you do not like it…how many CRapps did you purchase from itunes?

  • Mark

    Your revised article is still blatently misleading. Windows Phone 6.x does not exist. The phones you are referring to are known as Windows Mobile 6.x. Microsoft introduced the term ‘Windows Phone’ for the first time with the introduction of Windows Phone7. You need to do more than edit your article – you need to take it down because every word of it is false, misleading, and useless.

  • Mark

    Your revised article is still blatently misleading. Windows Phone 6.x does not exist. The phones you are referring to are known as Windows Mobile 6.x. Microsoft introduced the term ‘Windows Phone’ for the first time with the introduction of Windows Phone7. You need to do more than edit your article – you need to take it down because every word of it is false, misleading, and useless.

  • frac

    ‘We’ll be keeping tabs on the Windows Phone marketplace, so expect updates once the Phone 7 app store gets traction.’

    This article will never be updated

  • Sam I Am

    Again more total BS from the MS water-boy crowd. The consumer will be happy to know that their apps will cost more if the market ever takes off for the the Windows 7 phone…NO, let me spin that, it’s better for the developer because they will make more money!!! Really, what is their cut of the profit in the Windows world? You didn’t state this. Apple does not set the prices for apps in the app store developers set their price. What it seems you are trying to do is sell the public on something that does not exist. Is that your job as a tech writer? How do people like this get a job. Your entitled to your opinion…not your own set of facts. You’re obviously a shill. Again MS is late to the show & the water-boys once again tell us black is white, up is down & a snowflake is the same thing as an avalanche. If you worked for me you would be looking for employment.

  • Check
  • Alain

    This article has been brought to my attention by a collegue. And after reading it twice I felt the urge to reply with the words of the famous general Hannibal.

    “I have seen during my life many old fools, but this one beats them all”

  • http://pastagapp.com Bottomless

    It’s because you’re limited to 5 free apps then you need to pay extra if you want them free.
    http://pastagapp.com

  • Andy

    Ben,

    What were you thinking putting this out right before the new WP7 came out? It is pointless to compare Apple’s App Store to an outdated marketplace that is basically going away. There were 1500 apps for WP7 at the time of this article that you could have gotten the numbers on but chose to go with the old WinMo marketplace instead. It feels like you are trying to put a bad spin in WP7 and overall is terrible journalism.

    It would be like comparing the Xbox 360 to the Gamecube right before the Wii came out. It is pointless to do so as they are in 2 completely different classes (although some would argue the 360 and wii are in different classes too).

    Thanks for your time, please check facts and be responsible.

  • Stu

    Update:

    Ben,

    You were cited as wrong on Tech Crunch… Must be awesome to be cited as wrong on an Apple fanboi cite….

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/25/windows-phone-7-marketplaces-distimo-report/