Oakland County home to half of Michigan’s largest mobile app developers

Half of the largest mobile application developers in Michigan are based in Oakland County, Crain’s Detroit Business reported. Ten of the top 20 developers are clustered in Birmingham, Huntington Woods, Keego Harbor, Oxford, Pontiac, New Hudson, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Southfield.

The concentration demonstrates the county’s strength in attracting innovative IT companies and start-ups, the kind of businesses Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors program actively seeks, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. Mobile applications straddle the Information Technology and Film/Video/Digital Media sectors.

“It’s encouraging to know that some of the brightest technical minds anywhere want to set up shop here,” Patterson said. “It’s a credit to our business development team. In the past six years, nearly 90 IT companies chose to locate or expand in Oakland County, investing over $260 million and creating more than 9,400 jobs. Not bad at all.”

The largest mobile application developer on Crain’s list, JacAPPS of Southfield, lists the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, the University of Michigan, the Detroit International Jazz Festival and several dozen broadcasting groups among its more than 100 clients.

According to Crain’s, JacAPPS was spun off in July from Jacobs Media Inc., which does marketing and consulting for radio stations around the country. The company is the leading app developer in metro Detroit, with aggregate downloads of more than 11 million, and is looking for investors to help ramp up hiring and app development.

“The information technology sector is one of the fastest growing business units in Oakland County,” said Mark Adams, one of the county’s senior business development representatives. “We have several firms that are looking to expand or locate here to take advantage of the growing use of app technology in automotive. Once they get their footings in Oakland County these firms apply their technology to the medical, alternative energy, gaming and movie houses in Michigan.”

Mobile applications are booming, according to Crain’s. The number of downloads are projected to go from 8 billion in 2010 to 21 billion in 2013, and revenue from mobile-app stores worldwide from to go from $6.2 billion to nearly $30 billion.

The Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM), based in Oakland County, cites a recent study by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that indicates that for every job created in Michigan’s mobile technology industry, 3.9 additional jobs are created in the state in other industries, significantly higher than that for most other industries. MTAM is a trade association for the mobile industry, including carriers, manufacturers, hardware developers, software developers, mobile marketing vendors, advertisers and users of the technology.

For more information about Oakland County’s Business Development Services, see GlobalOakland.com.