$15 Billion is a big damn number
When the App Store launched in 2008, I don't think anyone quite expected that, three years later, it would be the driving force behind a $15 billion industry. The growth has been phenomenal even within the last year. A new Garder forecast predicts that mobile apps will create $15 billion in revenue this year.
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Last year, they made "just" 5.2 billion. The growth of Android- and the impressive infancy of Windows Phone 7- certainly contributed to this bloom. But Apple was the primary force behind it all. In 2009 they accounted for 99.4% of mobile app sales. In 2010, the App Store accounted for 9 out of 10 application downloads.
By 2014, Gartner forecasts total year app sales of $58 billion. Apple is still expected to be the dominant force at that point, but native apps as a category will face substantial opposition from browser-based apps. That's certainly the future Google hopes to bring about. Gartner research director Stephanie Baghdassarian sees it this way:
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"Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver."