According to a (rather subjective) evaluation by market research firm ABI Research, Apple has one a "competitive assessment" as the best implemented app platform available, followed by Google's Play and RIM's Blackberry store. The analysts justified their decision with the note that Apple surpasses its rivals in "its effective approach to monetization, large market share over the app industry, and the ability to achieve a large inventory of titles while maintaining a reasonably strict quality control."
ABI does not believe, however, that the Apple store is the most "innovative" app store at this time. The firm ranked Microsoft first, Apple second and Google third. The company explained that Microsoft shows a "fresh approach to app discovery" and "overall solid usability".
"Although Apple has done a great job capitalizing 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's 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."
He stated that features such as retention-based charts "are less prone to manipulation" and can help developers "break free from the tyranny of downloads."