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This chart demonstrating the early period since the start of both app collections demonstrates Apple’s lead on total downloaded apps, a title that Apple still holds today with a 60 billion number that has not yet been surpassed by Android. Although Android is gaining fast. This chart demonstrates Apple’s early lead during the first 39 months after both stores opened for business.

“Last year was all about chart-boosting,” said Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at the mobile ad firm SessionM, “Buying as many app installs as possible as short a timeframe as possible to get to the top of the charts.  Now there are fewer loopholes available to artificially inflate rankings, and legit companies won’t spend their time with it.”

SearchMan CEO Niren Hiro ran these same queries again for the date of November 24th, 2013 and found the results had definitely shifted, though not always for the better. (See chart below).

And despite Apple cracking down on the practice of companies like Tapjoy selling paid app installs, ad networks like San Francisco-based CyberZ still promise “personalized campaigns based on your desired number of installs,” as James Armfield, the company’s business development specialist, put it in a recent pitch.

The point is that Android is not far behind on downloads, and will likely surpass apple in the future. Although Apple will most likely retain its higher total revenue from app sales and higher amount paid to developers over Android for the foreseeable future.

Several mobile insiders praised Apple for helping push some of those practices to the margins, particularly since Apple cracked down on companies like Tapjoy offering gamers free lives or game currency in exchange for downloading apps. “Apple did a really nice job cleaning that up,” said Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at the app marketing firm Fiksu.

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