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Windows Phone app makes fives times more than iOS version - A developer case study

We like single case studies. You get exceptional detail and that personal touch. We also know you can't extrapolate the result to every similar situation, but they are useful for drawing some conclusions. For example, a few months ago, we wrote about about a Mortal Kombat guide for Windows Phone versus its Android version (Part 1, Part 2), with the former having a higher return in ad-revenue. Now we turn to a case with iOS.

The story is told by Anlock, who specialize in child-learning apps for mobile platforms. They make the same apps for both iOS and Windows Phone except that the iOS version is "more enhanced". They were making only iOS apps but were persuaded to try their hand at Windows Phone--since they had all the content, porting was easy. On both platforms their apps received the same 4 and 5 star reviews and both were even featured at some point in the Marketplace and App Store. The only difference between the two, really, was Anlock tried an "extensive advertising campaign" with iOS (that failed) whereas on WP7, they had no out-of-pocket advertising program. So what was the outcome?

"In terms of ranking, our WP7 app has been number 1 in the US in the Kids + Family category for the past three months in the Marketplace. As for the iPhone app, it has been ranked in the top 400 in Games\Educational for more than 2/3 of the entire time frame, reaching the top 100.The end result? As said, FIVE time more sales of our WP7 app vs. our iPhone app."

The next question of course is, why the difference?

After all, iOS has waaay more users and lets be honest, their app didn't exactly bomb, in fact out of 500,000 apps it seemed to hold its own. The answer, they conclude, is the same one for that Mortal Kombat app:

"Apple has 500,000+ apps on the App Store compared to only 30,000+ on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The potential, in terms of devices in the market, of the App Store is huge compared to that of the Marketplace but, at the same time, there is fierce competition and a LOT of noise in the App Store, making it extremely difficult to stand out.So, provided you have a killer app and unless you have a solid, well coordinated marketing plan in place for the App Store that you will execute with diligence along with a twist of luck, you stand a pretty good chance of having your app buried in the ruble. On the other hand your killer app will stand out on the Marketplace and will reward you accordingly. And with all the Nokia devices hitting the market soon, it can only get better.  Of course, the later you decide to join, the better it is for the rest of us that are already in…"

Yes developers, the Windows Phone Marketplace has a lot of potential if you have a "killer app".  While the Windows Phone market may not have the highest number, we all know it is about the quality of the apps, not the quantity. For Anlock, this was demonstrably proven. Check out their games here in the Web Marketplace to see why they do so well on Windows Phone.

Source: Anlock Blog; Thanks, Dimitris G., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Competition.  There is a relative lack of it on Windows Phone vs. iOS.  Pro developers should have gotten into WP at the beginning.  Lead, don't follow.
  • This is exactly the kind of thing I tried to explain to a few people when discussing WP7.  It is logical and, in this case, actually happened.  The really nice thing about this phenomenon is that as long as the platform itself is solid enough to make sales headway, the app ecosystem marketshare will automatically self-level, over time.  In other words, WP7 should grow faster as devs realize that competing in a sea of 40,000 is much easier than 500,000.
  • Well said.  The biggest complaints against WP on tech sites: Less features. No memory options, either iPhone like set storage or expandable. Less Apps.
    The apps will take care of themselves just as you said:  More developers will head to where the highest prophet is.  Right now, WP devices are increasing in sales, but have fewer choice in Apps, giving more sales to those there.  
    The other two complaints?  Hope the are dealt with soon by Microsoft.
  • Checked out these apps in the iTunes App Store and they appear to be iPhone apps.  So... an application targeted towards children for the iphone is not selling well?  That seems to be a no brainer.  If they were native iPad apps they may sell better.