Are Windows 8 users cheapskates? Windows Store downloads beat the Mac App Store, but Mac app revenue is five times higher.

Are Windows 8 users cheapskates? Judging by the first month of downloads in the Windows 8 Store, that might be the case. Even though downloads of the most popular apps in the Windows 8 Store beat downloads in the Mac App Store, Mac App Store revenue dwarfs that of the Windows 8 Store.

So reports Distimo, an apps analytics firm. It found that in the first month, the volume of downloads of the most popular 300 apps in the Windows 8 Store was already three times the volume of downloads of the most popular 300 apps in the Apple Mac App Store. (The Mac App Store, as the name says, is for Mac apps, not iOS apps.)

When it comes to revenue, though, the Windows 8 Store lags well behind the Mac App Store. Distimo says:

In terms of paid volume only, the Apple Mac App Store is still doing much (5 times) better.

One reason is that the vast majority of apps in the Windows 8 Store are free --- a full 86% of them. In the Mac App Store, that number is reversed: only 16% are free. Google's app store, Google Play, has long been known for its high proportion of free apps, but even there, 65% are free, well below the proportion in the Windows 8 Store.

This might sound like it's bad news for Windows 8, but it's not necessarily so. For now, at least, Microsoft isn't looking to the Windows 8 Store for revenue. It's looking for it to draw people to Windows 8, in the same way that apps draw people to iOS and Android. By that measure, the Windows 8 store is a success, because people are drawn more to free apps than paid apps.

The Distimo report found that there already are more than 20,000 apps in the Windows 8 Store after a month. By way of contrast, the much-older Mac App Store has only 13,000 apps. That's clearly good news for Microsoft. But both stores are dwarfed by the number of apps in the Apple App Store with more than 700,000 apps, and Google Play, with more than 600,000 apps.

So even though there's not a great deal of revenue to be had in the Windows 8 Store these days, it looks as if the store may already be somewhat of a success because of a sizable base of free apps.

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