Just shy of five years after launching in July of 2008, Apple's App Store has hit 50 billion downloads. Apple has just announced the news officially, after posting a countdown in early May. As promised, it's also giving a $10,000 App Store gift card to the person who downloaded the 50 billionth app, a name which will be announced soon. The first 50 people who downloaded an app after that will each receive a $500 gift card. While we don't know the exact timeline, around 10 billion of those downloads came since Apple gave its last set of statistics in January.
Apple's last major App Store milestone came in March 2012, when it hit the 25 billion mark and gave $10,000 to Chinese user Fu Chunli for downloading the lucky app. It's taken a little over a year for Apple to double that number, compared to nine months for the first million downloads and another three years to reach 25 million. Competitor Google's last major milestone came in September 2012, when the Play Store hit 25 billion downloads; at I/O today, it announced that it was closing in on Apple at 48 billion. The much younger Windows Phone Store, meanwhile, passed its first billion a few months ago in February, and BlackBerry's App World reached three billion downloads last year.
Update: Apple has revealed that the 50 billionth app downloaded was Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC, and the winner of the $10,000 App Store gift card for downloading it is Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio.