The boutique and the flea market

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A metaphor that I find useful for explaining the differences between the Apple App Store for iOS apps and the Google Play Store for Android apps is comparing them to a boutique and a flea market.

The Apple App Store is run more like a boutique. Boutiques tend to be pricier and they don’t try to be one stop shopping. Most importantly, their merchandise is specially selected – not everything gets in and it’s usually at the discretion of a buyer or owner.

In contrast, the Google Play store is more like a flea market. Items are cheaper but quality can vary wildly. Some purchases might be of dubious legality. It’s a bit more “buyer beware” but there can be bargains and finds.

There are certainly pros and cons to both approaches. As a user, it’s nice to know that the apps have been reviewed by Apple before they enter the store. On the other hand, anyone who’s had an app rejected for what seems to be an arbitrary reason knows it can be a frustrating experience.

On Google Play, it’s great as a developer to be able to get your app in the store in minutes. For users, they have to be a little more careful about what they download due to the lack of quality control. It’s less of an impulse acquisition at that point.

Keep this in mind if you have to describe the differences between the Apple and Android marketplaces to anyone who might be unfamiliar with them – they can go a long way in shaping your strategy as you develop, market and possibly sell your product.

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