Apple admits its iPhone apps don’t always win popularity contests

Apple admits its iPhone apps don’t always win popularity contests

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A study commissioned by Apple indicates that third-party iPhone apps are often more popular than Apple’s own.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Plenty of third-party iPhone applications outperform Apple’s own on the App Store. That’s the conclusion of a report commissioned by Apple itself. The iPhone-maker’s offerings don’t even come in second place in categories like music streaming, navigation and instant messaging.

This might sound embarrassing for Apple, but the company has a reason to tout the strength of rival software.

Apple humblebrags about iPhone third-party apps

Analysis Group’s report, entitled “The Success of Third-Party Apps on the App Store,” highlights the “dynamism of the App Store, its community, and its ecosystem, which benefits developers, users, and Apple.”

It points out that third-party iPhone applications play a major role. They are the only options for social networking, dating services, travel planning, and food and drink, as Apple doesn’t offers software in these categories.

And in many areas where Apple does compete, it’s not winning. Spotify and Pandora Music prove more popular than Apple Music, for example. Snapchat and Facebook Messenger beat FaceTime. And more iPhone owners use Google Maps and Waze than Apple Maps.

The hidden reason

Apple finds itself in the curious position of needing to tell the world how unsuccessful its products are. It’s about heading off potential regulation. The European Commission is considering legislation that would put limits on Apple’s control of the App Store. The same is true of the U.S. Congress.

The Analysis Group’s report is clearly intended to show that such regulation is unnecessary. Its goal seems to be to show that Apple isn’t using its advantages as the platform owner to crush smaller competitors.

And while Apple paid for the report, Analysis Group says, “the conclusions and opinions expressed are exclusively those of the authors.”