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If developers are finding it difficult to make money from apps today, things are only going to get tougher, according to a forecast by Gartner (via TechCrunch). Looking at the period through to 2018, Gartner predicts that fewer than one in 10,000 apps will be considered financially successful by their developers.

“The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many,” said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits.”

While this may not necessarily be a bad thing for major brands, who Gartner note may use apps to build brand recognition and product awareness, small developers have a much harder time getting their apps noticed, as consumers increasingly turn to recommendations and advertising to make their selections.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 94.5 percent of apps will be free or freemium, suggesting that advertising and in-app purchases will become an increasingly important source of income. The company also expects browser-based apps to grow in popularity as the HTML5 standard matures.

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