Apple's App Store: Over 3 Billion Served

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Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch owners have downloaded more than 3 billion applications from the company's online App Store, Apple said Tuesday.

The App Store hit the 3 billion download mark less than 18 months after it went live, the company said, and has doubled in less than six months after hitting 1.5 billion downloads in mid-July.

The number of mobile applications offered by the online store continues to grow rapidly as well: In November Apple said the number of applications offered through the App Store surpassed the 100,000 mark. The site offered 500 applications when it was launched in mid-2008. More than 10,000 developers and content creators make their applications available through the App Store.

"Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months " this is like nothing we've ever seen before," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. The store, which offers a range of applications in 20 categories, is available to iPhone and iPod Touch owners in 77 countries.

The latest download figures show how Apple is far outpacing such rivals as Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion, which also operate online application stores for their mobile device operating systems. Those competitors have not disclosed download statistics for their sites. In his statement Jobs said the Apple App Store offers "an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon."

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