Apple Says App Downloads Pass 15 Billion Mark

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed on Thursday more than 15 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store, underscoring the tech giants continued strength in the app market it essentially created.

The milestone figure consists of downloads on more than 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices around the world.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said it has paid developers who create the apps over $2.5 billion to date.

In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen, Philip Schiller, Apples senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.

Apples impressive App Store spawned a number of copy cats, including Googles (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android market and Research in Motions (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry App World.

Shares of Apple responded positively to the app news, rising 1.01% to $355.41 Thursday morning, giving them a 9% gain so far in 2011.