Google fires another volley at Apple in the war of the app stores


Google Play is growing up.

For years, the search giant’s store for apps, music, books, TV shows, and movies for Android devices has been battling its archrival, Apple’s App Store [fortune-stock symbol= »APPL »]. For most of that time, Apple had the clear upper hand. Its head start and avid base of iPhone and iPad owners made it a juggernaut. But now, through perseverance, big investments and focus, Google is catching up by some measures.

From its launch in 2008 though June 2014, Apple’s App Store handled 75 billion downloads. Meanwhile, in a bit of one-upsmanship, Google says it fielded around the 50 billion downloads in just the past 12 months.

On Thursday, at its annual developer conference, Google announced its latest push to make Play a more formidable foil to Apple. The upgrades are just part of the long running war between the tech industry’s biggest companies, whose future success hinges…

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