This is why the web will win against mobile apps

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Businesses are getting smart and walking away from building mobile apps. In an incisive writeup, Mobile App Developers are Suffering, Alex Austin had a conversation with a friend, who painted to him why his company stopped building native apps:

“It’s just too saturated. The barriers to adoption and therefore monetization are too high. It’s easier on the web.”

In other words, the mobile app business model is horrible. How horrible? A study shows that the top 20 app publishers, representing less than %0.005 of all apps, earn 60% of all app store revenue. That horrible. Far more horrible than the mobile hardware business – which is hard enough as it is.

Remember my 2013 article, How many developers really earn a living from app stores? Total Apple app store revenue over 5 years amounted to only $333 per developer. In 5 years in the most profitable app store! Yes; that horrible. Imagine what the figure must be for Android app developers.


Here are the key issues, simplified:

  1. App Discovery is horrible; finding a website is much easier
  2. App Monetisation is the pits

Here at, we do not have an official mobile app. It is deliberate. Every time a developer has approached us with a proposal to build us an app, we have said to them: “If you show us how we can effectively monetise the app, we will do this.” Not one of them have been able to. And so, we have stayed away from an official app. All over the world, others are catching on too.

At the end of the day, it is commerce that drives the world. Humans follow the money. As long as it is infinitely easier to build a business on the web, mobile apps will lose out. If the current app monetisation situation does not change, it is the very reason why the web will win against mobile apps. Simple.


  1. Interesting! I thought mobile apps can be easily monetised before now. Thought they make more money than the mobile web option. Valid points in the article though. Real facts!

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