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After December surge, Apple has sold 40 BEEELLION iOS apps

Possible last call for Apple in numbers game

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A bumper crop of application buying in December saw Apple's App Store hit the 40 billion download mark on Monday, with two billion of those coming in the month before Christmas.

"It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world."

So far, iOS developers have uploaded 775,000 applications to Apple's storefront, including around 300,000 just for the iPad. Cupertino has paid out over $7bn in royalties and kept over $2bn in commissions to swell its own coffers.

Apple's got a huge first-mover advantage in the apps market, and it's riding the PR wave while it can. But Android is gaining grown steady on its rival, clocking up 25 billion downloads by last September and predicting it would hit 50 billion by early this year. The Chocolate Factory declined to give El Reg any update on its figures so far.

So too did Microsoft. Ballmer's claiming 120,000 applications in Redmond's Phone Store, including "46 of the top 50 apps that people use." Microsoft claims that its average user downloads 56 mobile applications, but there's been little indication that it'll be a threat to the two top dogs for a while.

By the end of the month, RIM will have hopefully got back into the game, with the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, and its App World is open for submissions. The Canadian company's commission offer of $10,000 guaranteed for popular apps should see it getting a good initial offering, but it's going to be a very long time before it threatens the two biggest players.

Not that Apple's too concerned about the competition thus far. Apple's average revenue per buyer is higher than its open source rival, and it still has a dominant grip on the tablet market. While this may be the last time iOS outpaces Android in numbers, when it comes to dollars, Cupertino is still king. ®

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