Apple’s App Store has been ranked the best storefront among the three leading app distributors by ABI Research. ABI ranked the stores in terms of implementation and innovation, scoring each against five weighted criteria, with Google Play coming in second and Microsoft third.
Apple’s effective approach to monetisation, large market share and the number of apps balanced with strict quality control, saw it score highly in its implementation. With a score of 77 out of 100, Microsoft narrowly beat Apple to the top spot in terms of innovation, with the latter receiving 76. Microsoft was praised for its ‘fresh’ approach to app discovery, which takes more than app download ranking into account. Overall, Apple came out on top with a score of 80.8 out of 100, Google reached 72.2 and Microsoft got 63.9.
“Although Apple has done a great job capitalising on App Store’s head start as an app distributor, it should really start re-thinking the way it charts the top apps," said senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. "Microsoft should be lauded for its initiative to extend its ranking algorithm beyond raw download figures, by including factors that can actually measure the customer satisfaction and retention.
"Retention-based charts are less prone to manipulation, so as an additional plus Microsoft can also afford being more transparent about its approach. Moves like this can help break the developers free from the ‘tyranny of downloads’, decrease their reliance on costly marketing campaigns, and thus lower the barriers to entry.”