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You May Own Apple's Phone, but You're Using Google's Apps

Facebook's, too.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

From the “Things You Knew but It’s Still Helpful to See Them in a Chart” file*: Google has a decent lead over Apple when it comes to the number of people using its phones/operating system. But when it comes to the apps people use on those operating systems, it’s no contest — it’s Google’s world, hands down.

Google owns five of the 10 most popular mobile apps in the U.S., and Facebook has three of them — including Facebook, which is by far the most popular. Apple has just two, Nielsen says.

Here are the charts we promised you two paragraphs ago. The data comes from polls and surveys of U.S. mobile users (for a slightly different view, see Nielsen rival comScore’s survey):

Nielsen mobile OS Apple v. Google

Nielsen most popular mobile Apps Google Facebook Apple

One positive note for Apple is that its Apple Music app, which hasn’t generated the most flattering reviews, seems to be doing quite well: Nielsen says it is the country’s ninth-most popular app, with more than 54 million users.

Nielsen also says that number is up 26 percent in the last year, which is a little confusing since it was a different app a year ago. Additional confusion: In October, Tim Cook said Apple Music had 6.5 million paying subscribers and several million more trying the free trial.

But that one, at least, I can try answer: Nielsen is counting people who’ve opened the app, not those who’ve paid for the service or signed up for the service. I’m pretty sure Nielsen’s numbers also include people who are using the app to play music they already own.

* This file tends to get a good workout this time of year. Go figure!

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