Apple’s App Store reached a landmark 10 billion downloads over the weekend, further underlining the lead of the iPhone-maker in the mobile online software battle, a counter on the front page of the store showed.
Apple launched the iPhone store in mid-2008 and it proved to be an instant hit. The iPhone app store offers more than 300,000 programs, while there are more than 40,000 apps available for the iPad.
Its closest rival is privately-held GetJar, which sells software for all platforms, which reached 1 billion downloads last June.
To promote the milestone, Apple had promised to give away a US$10,000 App Store gift card to whoever bought the 10 billionth download. Apple said the winner of the gift card was Gail Davis of Orpington, England.
The store launched in July 2008 with just 500 apps and now touts the availability of more than 350,000 free and paid apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Growth of the store’s popularity has been swift; in its first nine months, the store hit 1 billion downloads and followed that up with 5 billion downloads in June 2010.
The App Store has been such a resounding success for mobile computing that Apple’s competitors have been forced to launch similar ventures. Google, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Nokia, and Samsung all offer apps through their own app storefronts.
But the venture has not been without controversy. Early on, Apple’s app approval process often frustrated developers, who were sometimes left in the dark about the reason an app was rejected. But Apple recently announced plans to publish its App Store Review Guidelines and to allow developers to create applications with just about any tool they want.