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  • Jailbreakers Beware! Pirated iPhone/iPod Apps Produce Big Numbers and Big Attention


    We all know that the "black market" for apps is big business, but now we're starting to get a better understanding of the numbers associated with content piracy in the app world. Incredibly, the "business of pirated apps" is starting to rival that of pirated films and music at an accelerating pace - but Apple doesn't seem to be overly concerned, even in the wake of some pretty lofty numbers being floated in a new report, which was chronicled today by our friends at The Big Money.

    The financial blog 24/7 Wall Street had a detailed post calculating the amount that Apple (AAPL) and developers of paid apps are losing when copies of their wares are downloaded to jailbroken, or unlocked, iPhones. On some pirate hubs, you can download nearly 1,000 iPhone apps in a single click. Their conclusion? For every paid app downloaded in the App Store, three are distributed for free through means that Apple hasnít authorized.
    Although the battle between content pirates and major Hollywood film and recording studios hasn't subsided in the least, it's all but certain that application developers will soon join the battle to help curb the loss of potential revenue they're "bleeding." But, as the article notes, Apple doesn't seem to be making too big of a fuss about the problem. Why? It's pretty clear that as long as content is played via iTunes or on iPods and iPhones, Apple will still benefit, even if the content being used was obtained legally.

    Why isnít Apple protesting? For one thing, $140 million is less than 2 percent of the $7.8 billion revenue Apple is expected to see this fiscal year. 24/7 also notes that Apple didnít make a huge fuss over music piracy either, given that it was making more revenue from iPods and iPhones, including those that were playing pirated songs.
    Call me crazy, but it seems that unless Apple starts to care about this issue, very little will likely happen with regard to the financial losses of developers that result from jailbroken iPhones and the influx of apps that users obtain without having purchased them via the App Store - which, by the way, has still suffered financially from pirated content. According to some estimates, Apple has already lost upwards of $140 million. Considering Apple has only made approximately five times that from the App Store, this number is very, very significant.

    Developers, however, have lost even more. $310 million is the figure presented in the piece.

    Developers Neptune Interactive Inc and Smells Like Donkey Inc have reported piracy rates has high as 90% for their game $1.99 Tap-Fu, and claim that it was available in a pirated version within 40 minutes of its release on the App Store.
    Image via cellphones.ca
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Jailbreakers Beware! Pirated iPhone/iPod Apps Produce Big Numbers and Big Attention started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 79 Comments
    1. vedavis's Avatar
      vedavis -
      If iTunes prevents cracked apps from being updated, then that is a slight deterrent. But there will always be a way around any system; some for good purposes (like Cydia and Rock apps).
    1. soulthoughts's Avatar
      soulthoughts -
      Let's say Apple does crackdown on pirated apps, who's to say that they won't do something to jailbreakers too? Afterall, they believe jailbreaking to be illegal.

      Cracked apps aren't going anywhere unfortunately. They will always be around in some form even if Cydia manages a way to implement blocking of bad sources.

      I would rather there be a few bad users than Apple poking around my phone.
    1. zozodouce's Avatar
      zozodouce -
      Quote Originally Posted by atomi View Post
      im buyin my apps legaly from app store but my friends arent.. I told them that its wrong because all the apps dont come from big houses like ea but they dont listen.. I feel sorry for devs.


      please pipe it, we all do it and you do it too.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by zozodouce View Post
      please pipe it, we all do it and you do it too.
      Please do not generalize us like that. I have not once, since owning a 3g - pirated an app. I think its a matter of the offending parties either not knowing (or caring) how stealing the application directly affects the lives of the people who develop the software. I would never steal the software, the same way I would never walk out on a check at a diner. There is NO difference between the two.

      Besides, you can't even update the software when its pirated. Is your time that worthless that your willing to. waste time download different versions of the same software over and over again?
    1. redcard's Avatar
      redcard -
      Well done Messany. I think your title pretty much presumes all jailbreakers use cracked apps. First class journalism
    1. Luppin's Avatar
      Luppin -
      Any intelligent person wouldn't assume that in any kind of average circumstance you could support yourself by developing apps for the iPhone. If you wanted to make ends meet with a job in programming then there's definitely much more viable, and much less risky, areas to employ yourself. This isn't saying that it can't be done, the odds are just overwhelmingly against you to break the bank with an iPhone app, so anyone who is down on their luck purely because they invested all their time and energy into developing iPhone apps has no one to blame but themselves.
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      I guess I'm a hypocrite. I don't buy my music, but I think it's wrong to pirate apps. Guess deep down I just figure app devs are just every day people for the most part, and music artists make a lot more than app developers. Not to mention the fact that if I bought all my music, I wouldn't have 1/4 of the songs on my iPod and I'd still be broke. I've spent a good amount on apps, but I don't download 10-15 apps at a time.

      Oh, and another reason I don't buy my music is because iTunes is the only place I can get it from. Can't make MP3 CDs or free ringtones with songs bought through iTunes.
    1. wgm214's Avatar
      wgm214 -
      its been found piracy promotes sales...
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      I gave up cracked apps lol, I actually do "try and buy". I also gave up an jailbroken iPhone

      ^You can update cracked apps.
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      Its a part of life, theres always people who do some "questionable" stuff with their devices, if the dev's are smart as they are suppose to be they would have seen this problem, its a fact of life, deal with it
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by spiderguy84 View Post
      One big problem is websites that host them like appscene.org that refuse to do anything. They have a DMCA link on their site that tells you to send email to a certain address and give all the info including a sworn statement you are the copyright owner of that app. The only problem is they ignore it. My app Nag-O-Matic got posted there over a month ago and I have sent more than 50 emails to the [email protected] to remove it, with no reply or action. If anyone has a number to call I'd appreciate it. I was getting a few downloads a day but the moment it started appearing on ********** it came to a screeching halt, not even 1 download since then.
      Apps*ene was specifically designed for the purpose of uploading cracked apps hence the APP in the name. They'll NEVER remove your app, only sites like MU n RS will remove your app but there are loads of sites that are solely for uploading cracked iPhone apps and are on servers in countries where Apple can't do anything!
      I feel for you but then again I can't talk!!
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      The people who steal apps are scum, end of story!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      I think Cydia should block these repos. By not doing so it has made it harder and harder for those of us who aren't thieves to enjoy something we bought. 'The man' isn't the problem here, it's people that use a system like Cydia to steal without Cydia being made for that purpose. Jay should simply block those repos as soon as they are found to be hosting stolen apps. That's the way to stop it.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by A.T View Post
      I gave up cracked apps lol, I actually do "try and buy". I also gave up an jailbroken iPhone

      ^You can update cracked apps.
      Lol, shows what I know about the cracking scene... /facepalm

      At the person who said that a programmer should expect to make a living off of writing programs for iphone - how is the fact that (apparently) 65-70 percent of the iphone-using population are douchebags make his choice of work stupid? It's not his fault that apple hasnt even attempted to address the problem. He's working, pretty hard I'd add, to generate an honest day's work and at no point in time will I fault a group of people for something that really isn't their fault?

      While I can appreciate your point, I disagree because said artist should not be held accountable for the shady practices of others.

      Piracy does not boost sales, only discourages innovation. No one wants to make a quality product if they believe they won't get properly paid for it. Would you work at your job for free?
    1. SquareWheel's Avatar
      SquareWheel -
      Apple doesn't make that much off their cut in selling apps, it's the developers I care about. I doubt that sales are affected much by piracy though, most people who pirate apps would never buy them anyway.
    1. Frostbite's Avatar
      Frostbite -
      I am not saying its right but I seriously doubt that piracy will ever stop.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Why does piracy exist in the first place?
    1. iPhone3G[S]'s Avatar
      iPhone3G[S] -
      Well, with every software update comes new protection. It always gets cracked. Just like every version of windows, osx for pc, etc... it's never ending, so is the cat and mouse games apple and crackers play.

      I think that is why they don't care a whole lot about it. Im sure they have a percent where they will be like, OK, we have to step in and stop this. Maybe it's 2% and iphoneos 4.0 will be "uncrackable" or harder then before, taking more then a couple weeks.

      The 2.0 unlock didnt come until new years of that year. 3.0 came in about 3-4 months. From Geohots forum it sounds like they put a lot of effort into stopping the unlocking process. We will know pretty soon if they are making it more secure, sure they are. I'm sure it will get hacked again.

      Point is, there really is no stopping it, at least not in the near future.
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      but everybody does it! LOL there is no way to stop pirating, see how well its doing for movies and music. i do it too, havent bought a cd in 10 years, i get studio copy dvd's before they even come out in theaters, maybe when you open the app store/cydia/rock there should be a video that plays. you wouldnt steal this crappy app from walmart would you? downloading pirated apps is illegal, you could go to prison because of this, yet you just supported terrorism and drug cartels. everyone has pirated something some way or another, probably mostly music how many of you have paid for every single song that you have on your ipod???
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPhone3G[S] View Post
      Well, with every software update comes new protection. It always gets cracked. Just like every version of windows, osx for pc, etc
      Then there comes along the PS3, who has yet to get a chance to get cracked without a new update to block even the little ground that made headway. Yes this is a hardware but it contains software; which the iPhone is hardware but had leaks to change to software.