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Paid Apps – A Comparison Between Chrome Web Store, Mac App Store and Google Android Market

Original article appeared on ChromeOSApps.org

Get used to the term ‘apps’. ‘Apps’ has been swallowed up by our elementary level mass media and it appears like it is here to stay. If your in the UK, you may hear ‘apps’ more frequently than ‘cheers’. If you’re in a world class city, you may hear apps more then you hear ‘ciao’. If you’re around a young woman, you may hear apps more often than you hear ‘OMG’. If you’re a masochist, you might name your dog Apps.

Unfortunately, when a term like apps is used in the mainstream, the integrity of its meaning is diluted. In our case – is a Chrome Web Store (CWS) App the same as a Mac App Store (MAC) App? Further, is a desktop op sys app the same as a smartphone app?

This is not an article on the definition of an app. Here we look beyond the definition, and follow the money. If you make a buck or euro selling something through the Chrome Web Store, is that buck or euro different than a buck made through the Mac App Store? Apply the same logic for selling something through the Google Android Market (GAM).

Studying and comparing the Top Paid Apps for February at the CWS, MAC, and GAM yields interesting information. Here we follow the money.

Note – Ditmo is the source for MAC and GAM top ranking identification.

Content Comparison

Chrome Web Store, Mac App Store, Google Android Market - Apps

Based on Feb 28, 2010 results

At each store different trends appear to be forming.

At the Chrome Web Store collaborative apps sell well. Of the Top 10 Paid Apps, five are collaborative apps.

Six apps from the Mac App Store are produced by Apple. These Mac Apps for the most part are document and picture editors. The lone exception is Facetime – a social networking app.

The Google Android Market is selling utilities designed to tweak, optimize or personalize your Android device. Eight of the Top 10 Paid Apps fulfill this description.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing Strategy at Chrome Web Store, Mac App Store and Google Android Market

The pricing strategy at the Chrome Web Store differs from the strategy at the other two stores. Per month charge terms dominate the CWS list. The per month price point seems to range from $4 to $10.

At the CWS, there is only one app, Spark Chess, that is a one time charge – $9.00.

Chrome App Developers may want to note that not one of the Top 10 Apps chooses to utilize the CWS pricing service. All apps offer ‘in app payments’ which essentially are outside the CWS program.

At the Mac App Store and the Google Android Market all of the Top 10 Apps are one time charges. The price point median at MAS is slightly higher at $12.49 when compared to GAM median of $4.50.

Converging Thoughts?

This is a view of three web stores offering apps. The Top Paid Apps from these stores represent products that store customers have valued today through their purchases. Without a doubt, the stores are selling to different markets. This is reflected in the information provided above. As an example –

  • Chrome Web Store Top Paid Apps are benefiting from cloud computing by facilitating collaborative workspaces

  • Mac App Store is providing easy access to the creative applications that are the backbone of Apple’s artistic audience

  • Google App Market paying customers are spending money on wringing the most out of and aesthetically changing their devices

Essentially, it doesn’t appear like the stores are competing for the same paying customers… yet.

NOTE – There has been considerable discussion amongst the staff here about the definition of ‘paid app’. The discussion revolves around the fact that all of the apps listed on this page have free trials (except for the Android Market Apps, and the three Mac Game Apps). The difference between CWS and MAS is CWS will list an app as a paid app, but allow access to the free trial. With the MAC store, an app must be paid for in order to install the app. Both Google and Apple have more money then ChromeOSApps.org. We do not reclassify their categorization. We do agree that this may skew the data.

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