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Apple App Store Tops 3 Billion Downloads

Download figures for Research in Motion's BlackBerry Apps World and Google's Android Market have not been released.
Apple on Tuesday said the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch has topped 3 billion downloads less than 18 months.

The latest figure means the number of downloads has roughly doubled since mid-July when Apple reported more 1.5 billion downloads. At the time, the App Store had more than 65,000 applications available and more than 10,000 content creators in the iPhone Developer program.

The App Store "offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon," Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive and co-founder, said in a statement.

Indeed, Apple rivals remain far behind the market leader, which boasts iPhone and iPod Touch customers in 77 countries and an App Store covering 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

Competitors hoping to someday catch Apple include Research in Motion's BlackBerry Apps World, Google's Android Market, Microsoft's Mobile Marketplace for Windows, and Palm's Apps Catalog. None of the rivals, however, have released download figures.

Apple's success, however, has not been without criticism. Developers have complained about the approval process. For some developers, Apple as gatekeeper has been seen as inconsistent and rigid.

Philip Schiller, the company's senior VP of worldwide product marketing, has defended Apple, saying the company is merely acting like any other retailer that wants to ensure quality products. Schiller said the vast majority of programs get approved, and of those that get rejected, 90% are tossed because of technical issues and 10% for objectionable content.

Among those sent back, only 1% fall into grey areas that Apple didn't expect, such as an app that assists users in gambling at casinos.

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