Can Apple's App Store maintain its lead over Google Play?

Google's store is just 25,000 apps away, putting it within striking distance of overtaking Apple's App Store in sheer number of apps offered.

Google

Apple's App Store has always offered the most apps to users. But that could change.

Google announced yesterday that its Google Play store now offers 675,000 applications. Apple announced earlier this month that its store had 700,000 applications available.

Both Google and Apple's apps stores launched in 2008. However, as Inside Mobile Apps pointed out yesterday, Apple's option has historically been the leader by a wide margin. In 2010, for example, Apple announced it had reached 250,000 apps. Google's store -- then known as the Android Market -- didn't hit that tally until July 2011.

Meanwhile, Google also announced yesterday that 25 billion apps have been downloaded -- a figure Apple reached six months ago.

The potential for Google to catch up with Apple may surprise some who remember a study released earlier this year by IDC and Appcelerator, a company that makes cross-platform programming tools for developers. In that study, the companies found that the number of developers who were "very interested" in programming for Android smartphones dropped from 83.3 percent to 78.6 percent. A similar step down occurred for Android tablets. Apple's iPhone and iPad stayed atop the list with 89 percent and 88 percent interest, respectively.

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