Are Google Apps On iOS A Trojan Horse Or A Concession to Apple’s Dominance?

on May 2, 2013
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Grin And Bear It

Aside from Google Maps and Google Now, many users would sooner tap on Gmail, Google Chrome, and Google Drive than the apps Apple would much rather you use, and the result is completely antithetical to Apple’s insistence of a controlled ecosystem and specific apps within a walled garden.

Google apps are besting the iPhone’s default software, and Apple has to grin and bear it. ~ Mike Schuster, USA Today

Apple has to grin and bear it? Do they? Or is it actually the other way round and Google is the one who has to grin and bear it?

App Revenue

Apple’s iOS ecosystem is crushing Google’s Android in dollars generated from App sales.

“Cumulative app downloads have surpassed 45 billion and app developers have made over $9 billion for their sales through the App Store, including $4.5 billion in the most recent four quarters alone. Canalys estimate the sales from our App Store accounted for 74% of all app sales worldwide in the March quarter.” ~ Apple Earnings Call

According to a new report from app analytics firm App Annie, the iOS App Store has maintained its lead in terms of monetization, earning around 2.6 times more revenue in the last quarter. During the holiday season – when users are receiving, activating and then filling new smartphones and tablets with apps – that lead was even higher, with iOS generating roughly four times more revenue.

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Ad Revenue

Whenever it’s pointed out that Apple developers make far more income than do Google developers, Android advocates quickly point out that Google is an advertising company and that they and their developers make their money through advertising rather than through the sale of Apps. Only here’s the thing…

… 75 cents of every dollar spent on mobile advertising is spent on iOS, not Android.

“…iPhone, iPad, and yes, even iPod touch ad rates are much higher. While Android smartphones draw $.50 CPMs (cost per thousand impressions), iPhones pull in $.65 to $.88 CPMs, iPod Touches do $.74 to $.98, and iPads do between $.82 and $1.16.” ~ Venturebeat

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As you can see from the chart, below, what’s utterly amazing is that the iPad alone makes almost as much advertising revenue as all of Android put together.

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Convoluted Logic

I have heard it said that Google’s excellent iOS software is a Trojan Horse that will make it easier for iOS users to switch from iOS to Android. But I fail to see how Google’s efforts to improve their iOS software – and therefore improve the iOS experience – either harms the iOS platform or makes it more likely that iOS users will leave the platform.

Google is not creating iOS Apps out of the goodness of their hearts. They make money when people use their apps and consume their advertising. And right now, the bulk of the app money and the bulk of the mobile advertising revenue is being made on iOS. If Google wants to stay in the game, then they’ve got to deign to play on Apple’s turf. It’s as simple as that.