App Piracy: The Basics

There are over 400,000 applications in Apple’s AppStore alone, so developing and distributing mobile applications appears — at first glance — to be a profitable path for developers and entrepreneurs alike. Among the applications being downloaded, the ratio of free to paid applications is 31:69. The problem facing developers and entrepreneurs, though, is that at least 13% of existing paid apps are pirated and downloaded freely on a daily basis, and 97% of the top 100 apps are regularly pirated! App piracy occurs across mobile platforms, no longer limited to just Apple’s iOS, and is quickly becoming increasingly prevalent on rising platforms like Android and Windows Phone 7.

Mobile Market Trends

While some may argue that piracy is simply an extended “try before you buy” period, the idea of a trial period is to allow a user to ultimately buy a product or discontinue its use after a determined period of time. With piracy, the so-called trial period is extended indefinitely, harming both the developer and the overall app eco-system, as many pirated apps are then redistributed again through means like torrents and file hosts that allow users to download bulk packages of pirated apps.

Android is rapidly becoming a prime competitor to Apple’s iOS. Along with its competitiveness as an operating system, it offers a growing variety of applications for its phones. Unlike Apple’s AppStore, however, Android applications are essentially on an open marketplace. This basic distinction between the two means that Apple-based applications are more carefully controlled than Android apps to begin with. Add to that articles like one published last year by Read Write Web about the ease with which hackers can open up Android apps to piracy and to the public to be distributed as free applications.  Similarly, although the WinPhone7 is relatively new to the market, it faces similar issues with piracy of its native apps. One post from wpcentral documents an application called “FreeMarketplace,” which helps users unlock and pirate previously-paid WinPhone7 apps.

Although piracy of mobile apps is on the rise, mtiks has created a solution to help developers control the distribution of their apps and prevent such widespread piracy. To learn more about it, check out our website or email us for more information.

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