Apple's iOS App Store is the best overall mobile storefront service on the market, say researchers.
Analyst firm ABI Research said that the Apple service was still ahead of competing stores from Google and Microsoft in its Mobile Applications Market report.
The report, which grades firms on criteria including usability, application quality and availability, found that Apple outpaced its competitors in key areas to lay claim to the top spout. Google was second in the report, followed by Microsoft's Windows Phone market.
Apple was lauded in particular for its strict quality control which has been maintained despite managing a massive inventory of free and paid applications. The company is renowned for its strict standards and developer requirements.
The report also cited Apple's high market share, strong monetisation approach and strong storefront performance.
Though the App Store won top spot, researchers noted that the company was letting itself fall behind competitors in key areas. ABI found that Apple had been bypassed by Microsoft in particular in the store innovation category.
"Although Apple has done a great job capitalising on App Store’s head start as an app distributor, it should really start re-thinking the way it charts the top apps," said ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen.
"Microsoft should be lauded for its initiative to extend its ranking algorithm beyond raw download figures, by including factors that can actually measure the customer satisfaction and retention."
The report comes as a welcome bit of good news for Apple on what has been an otherwise disappointing day for its mobile software storefront.
The company was dealt a blow to its brand when a court ruled that Amazon had the right to use the 'App Store' label. The ruling cripples an effort by Apple to lay exclusive claim to the 'App Store' title for its download service.
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