Facebook ( FB ) apps took three of the top-ten spots, most notably the number one position for the second year in a row. The social networking app's more than 126 million average unique users per month, according to the Nielsen report, grew 8% from last year. Facebook Messenger was the third most-used app, up from seventh place last year , and Instagram came in at No. 8 on the list, moving up only one position from last year.
Alphabet's Google division ( GOOGL ) had five of the top ten apps: YouTube (number two), Google Search (number four), Google Play (number five), Google Maps (number six), and Gmail (number seven).
Apple ( AAPL ) rounded out the list with two apps: Apple Music and Maps.
According to the Nielsen data, the apps with highest year-over-year change were Facebook Messenger with a 31% increase and Apple Music with a 26% increase.
Notably absent from this list is Microsoft ( MSFT ), one of the largest software makers in the world. The company cannot be thrilled to have no products on this top-ten list.
The most notable reason for Microsoft being MIA from the mobile industry is its "chicken and egg" issue with its mobile products - i.e. mobile phones that use Windows 10 as its operating system. Windows phones are not very popular for the tech industry to develop apps for the operating system, and customers do not want to buy Windows phones because they do not have enough apps.
Google and Apple's presence on this list is logical, since their apps are preloaded onto their phones. People do not have to download Google apps to use on Android phones, and Apple Music and Maps are already on iPhones. Furthermore, Android and iOS phones are the top selling phones in the world; mobile app developers would be silly not to have their apps supported on those operating system.
Microsoft should probably focus on improving its free version of Office 365 suite app as well as develop apps that can rival Google and Apple. Without its own mobile operating system, Facebook is dominant because people choose to download and use Facebook and Instagram on their phones, regardless of which device they have.
Microsoft should take a page out of Facebook's mobile book if they want to be relevant in the mobile app industry.