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iPhone developer: App piracy more widespread than most realize

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

Speaking in an interview with Wired over the current state of App Store piracy, Kai Yu, president of BeeJive, said the situation was worse than most realize. “We think that current piracy of content from the App Store is much more widespread than most people realize,” Yu said. Yu added that after installing analytics software in the company’s BeeJive IM application, the company discovered 60 percent of activity coming from pirated copies; it has since taken measures to disable cracked copies. However, Yu remains optimistic that Apple will address the situation, saying, “This will hopefully be a temporary state, mostly due to the ‘newness’ of the App Store. It is like the Wild West.”

iPhone analytics company Medialets estimates at least 5,000 apps have been cracked thus far, according to the Wired report. There are multiple websites hosting pirated copies of apps, including one that currently offers roughly 3,200 cracked apps, and apps can also be found in Torrent files, including a 5.4 gigabyte file called the X-Mas iBrain Pack, which contains 808 cracked iPhone applications.

Despite the seemingly widespread problem of app piracy, some developers feel it has not made a significant impact on sales. Brian Greenstone, owner of Pangea Software, said the company actively tracked piracy of its game Enigmo, only to see a 5 percent piracy rate in the app’s first week on the store, a figure which fell to nearly zero percent afterwards. “Like any piracy scheme, it’s just a matter of time until hackers find their way around,” Greenstone said. “There are things we can do as developers, but since the piracy rate is so low, my thought is ‘Who cares? It’s not even worth the trouble.’”

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Comments

1

This is a problem which we all knew would come, but I am sure apple will find a way to limit this, but I feel like cracked apps are like illegal music.  Even if it is made illegal, it will continue.

Posted by Dan on March 31, 2009 at 8:45 AM (PDT)

2

Piracy will never cease to exist. It’s a blind spot in the market, the devs always say how it’s affecting their sales, while most people that download cracked apps wouldn’t buy the app anyway.
PC game market should tought everyone by now that it doesn’t matter how much you spend to secure you program, if somebody wants to, it will get cracked. Even legal way doesn’t do much.
And btw the websites you mention DO NOT host apps, they merely link to files stored on rapid mediafire and other hosting websites.

Posted by Lol on March 31, 2009 at 10:55 AM (PDT)

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