As outrage spreads, Apple says app developers are thriving on iPhone


Apple Inc. pointed to a report showing that third-party apps are thriving on the iPhone and other devices.

Apple Inc., looking to address criticism of its competitive practices by the European Union, developers and U.S. lawmakers, pointed to a report showing that third-party apps are thriving on the iPhone and other devices. 

In a study published by Analysis Group and touted by the iPhone maker, analysts said that Apple’s own apps are infrequently the dominant option and only account for a small share of app usage. 

“We found that Apple’s own apps, while used by many, are rarely the most popular of a given type and are eclipsed in popularity by third-party apps for nearly every country and app type we considered,” the report said. 

In the U.S., the report found that Spotify is 1.6 times more popular than Apple Music, that Google Maps is used 1.5 times more than Apple Maps, and that Netflix is 17 times more popular than Apple’s service. The Amazon Kindle service, meanwhile, was 4.5 times more popular than Apple’s Books app. 

Apple is under scrutiny from the European Union, which is working on legislation that would force the company to allow apps to be installed from outside the App Store. Such a move would threaten Apple’s grip on its platform and could limit its ability to collect a commission from developers.

U.S. lawmakers also have pushed to allow the practice, known as sideloading. Apple has said that sideloading would bring privacy and security risks to consumers.

Thursday’s move was an attempt to show that app developers are doing fine without a change. It also marked an unusual effort by Apple to downplay the success of its own services, which now generate more than $60 billion a year for the Cupertino, California-based company. The study found Apple’s music, TV, books and maps services are the dominant player in few major regions.

“In the U.S., iPhone users spend more than 50% more time on Spotify than on Apple Music,” the report said.

The researchers also found there was a variety of alternative apps across major categories. In Asia, for instance, third-party communication apps like LINE, WeChat and KakaoTalk are dominant on the iPhone.

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