Apple's App Store Hits 10 Billion Downloads

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After two and a half years (or so) of existence Apple's iOS App Store has seen 10 billion downloads.

To celebrate, Apple is handing out one $10,000 iTunes gift card. Folks were entered into the drawing by downloading an app from the App Store or visiting Apple's website between January 6 and the download of the 10 billionth app.

Contest aside; this marks a huge milestone for Apple and the storefront launched a few years ago to go along with Apple's iPhone SDK.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs first publicly demonstrated the then-new App Store in March of 2008 along with the iPhone 2.0 software, calling it "an application we've written to deliver apps to the iPhone."

And deliver it did.

It took nine months to reach one billion downloads and a little over a year to hit two billion. All the while Apple collected a nice percentage of revenue from each app that was sold.

Many developers made a pretty penny in the App Store, too.

Movies by Flixter, the fifth most downloaded free iPhone and third most downloaded free iPad app, was created by Jeffrey Grossman, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008, Flixter acquired the app from Grossman for an undisclosed amount. Grossman was also given a consultant position at Flixter while attending school. Not too bad for a college student.

Not everything about the App Store was pretty.

Everyone remembers the 2009 Google Voice debacle, in which Apple rejected Google's official app from showing up in the App Store. The move inspired the FCC to look into Apple's vague app approval process, which was frequently criticized.

Last September, Apple finally demystified the approval/rejection process by releasing App Store Review Guidelines. In November, the official Google Voice app finally made its way into Apple's store.

It goes without saying that the App Store has been a huge success for Apple and its wide selection of apps is arguably one of the biggest things standing between the iPhone and its competitors.

But that may soon change.

The Android Market is gaining ground quickly. In December 2010, AndroLib reported that the Android Market had more than 200,000 apps. That report came just two months after Google announced it had 100,000 apps in its market. PC World writer Daniel Ionescu projected that the Android Market could overtake Apple's iOS App Store by this spring if growth continues at the same rate.

Something tells me that Apple isn't too worried about that. After all, it just opened the App Store for Mac and will soon be able to provide Verizon customers with all their app needs.

Check out PC World's All-Time Apple iOS App Favorites slideshow.

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