Apple on Thursday said it topped 1 billion downloads on its App Store, which was launched nine months ago.
The company announced the milestone on its Web site and said the Billion App Countdown contest was officially closed. The winner would be announced later.
In promoting the billionth download, Apple says it will give away more than $13,000 worth of merchandise. The person who downloaded the billionth app will get $10,000 in iTunes credit, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a 32-GB iPod Touch and a Time Capsule backup system for the Mac. Anyone who downloaded apps from the store was automatically entered for the prize.
The market for mobile apps was stalled until Apple launched the App Store to offer third-party software for the popular iPhone and the iPod Touch. The success of the venture has drawn the attention of major rivals, who are all expected eventually to have their own over-the-air way to distribute mobile programs.
However, competitors have their own twists. Google says its Android Market will be more open, Research In Motion's App World is more enterprise friendly, Nokia's Ovi Store will integrate social networking and location, and Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile will allow users to be billed through their carriers.
In building the App Store, Apple has met with controversy. This week, an application called Baby Shaker, which had users quiet a crying baby by vigorously shaking the iPhone, sparked protests from child-abuse groups. Apple took down the application.
Apple also has been criticized by developers. The company took some heat in revising the software development kit this month and changing the licensing agreement to prevent developers from distributing apps in ways other than the App Store.
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