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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. billchase2's Avatar
      billchase2 -
      I haven't read through the 5 pages of comments to this, but something I think would help the piracy rate would be a testing period for the apps. I feel that some people pirate the apps first before buying them to give them a test drive.
    1. chrlswltrs's Avatar
      chrlswltrs -
      I have downloaded pirated apps, but here is my reason why. When navigation apps cost $60+ a piece and I don't know which one will work better am I supposed to pay for them all to try and only use it once if I don't like it? For example I hated the TomTom app and would have never used it, but I liked the Navigon app. I needed to test them both before buying since you can not get a refund for an app that doesn't work for you.

      I do support the developers and think they deserve money for their work. After trying the pirated app, I always either deleted it or bought the paid app. If an app could be refunded after a trial period (like android market) or all apps came with a trial (like apps from rock), then I think there would be a lot less piracy.
    1. mwo2616's Avatar
      mwo2616 -
      Who cares if the apps are pirated? I dont! You people are gonna tell me that you have NEVER illegaly downloaded a song or 2? Since when did everybody grow halos on here? My Iphone has 2 pirated apps on it, but thats all. I have 59.00 currently in my itunes account, that i will spend on some songs and some apps. Dont bag on people for downloading pirated apps. In this economy,some people cant afford these apps, and their iphone probably is the only thing that comforts them as they venture out in this cruel world!
    1. RaginAsian55's Avatar
      RaginAsian55 -
      I download cracked apps-- to try them! If I don't like them I delete them. If I like them, I buy them. It's that simple. I've also started buying more apps because I can try them out. Not all apps have Lite or Demo versions so it sucks. I have purchased apps though, which weren't cracked, thinking "hey why not" and they've wound up being a waste of money. So much so that I've felt literally cheated into buying an app that got "good reviews" but wound up being total crap. So who's the victim?-- Devs and companies creating products that are stolen or the individual user who pays and feels scammed? Without a return policy on iTunes, cracked apps are here to stay. Similarly, since these games are only intended to hold attention spans for a few hours (at the most), even paying 99cents may not be worth it, especially if you add up all the money you've spent on all those "hey, why not?" games...
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by mwo2616 View Post
      In this economy,some people cant afford these apps, and their iphone probably is the only thing that comforts them as they venture out in this cruel world!
      I look at it like this. If you cant afford to pay for the subsequent cost of an iPhone, you should'nt have purchased it in the first place. I hate people that stunt and buy a used BMW, then complain about the repair costs. Or people who have money for iphone + data plans, but have to buy walmart brand sugar smacks.

      I have no sympathy whatsoever for the person willing to make that kind of tradeoff from a financial standpoint. If you can pony up the money for a non-essential high end device like this, you are obviously not hurting that bad. And if you are, then you are whats wrong with america's economy. People think that because they can afford the initial cost that its a sound decision to buy. Then you steal from hardworking people who depend on the income that you are robbing them of, and act like you're sticking it to the man or something. I posted before about it being like walking out on a check at a diner. The owner of the diner won't feel the sting, but the waiter who was serving you now has to go out of pocket to pay for YOUR food.

      So what if you get a few duds? Thats what reviews are for. We all know the system isn't perfect, but its all we have - learn to work with it, and stop ripping these people off.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      it's a sad state of affairs when we have to steal others hard earned ideas.
    1. Enkidu's Avatar
      Enkidu -
      1. Copying's not stealing.
      2. Those numbers are highly exaggerated! It is logical that most copies of cracked apps, that are downloaded would have never been sold in the app store.
      3. All these shocking numbers conceal the fact, that many companies (incl. Apple) make a fortune out of the app store.. It's never been so easy for companies to reach such a broad number of people in no time to sell their little software to.
      4. It's not Apple's responsibility to stop piracy! They couldn't stop it anyways

      All that being said, the only ones that really lose here are small companies, software engineers that try to make a living independently. But as much as I feel sorry for them, well, that's capitalism for ya, that's neoliberal free market for ya. If you're one of these people, you're much better off joining your local anticapitalistic organization, instead of whining about, how people are not feeling your work is worth paying for. Just my opinion....
      If that sounded harsh, please note, I haven't had my morning coffee yet. Maybe a bad idea to check modmyi before my first one of the day....
    1. captainhighjack's Avatar
      captainhighjack -
      Who that has read this thread and does not own a DVD burner or a CD burner or a VCR and not burned copy written material please cast the first stone. LOL We have been raised for at least two generations that burning copy written stuff is Ok. That is why we can buy vcrs,cd/dvd burners at walmart. you first had reel to reels in the home What for? to copy others work. then I think but not sure there were recordable 8tracks then the dual cassette decks What for? coping others material. then low and behold the VCR everything was copied illegally, Movies,tv shows, concerts.and tho there were attempts to deter copying stuff, it is lame at best. why you ask? because when Bucky creates something a song or a movie that will make Bucky a million dollars, the worlds retailers make untold billions on equipment to copy it. same thing for goes for apps. Apple does not make it's real money from apps, it makes its money on equipment to hold apps (Iphones)and for every 99 cent app that gets Jacked there is a three hundred dollar Iphone to put it on,LOL I think the pirates ar doing what they have been raised to do in America. if you can download it (torrent) download it. your are just doing what your momma taught you.
    1. Taniban's Avatar
      Taniban -
      To follow what Enkidu had said, it's all economics and the fundamentals of capitalism. Consumers tend to buy the cheapest goods (in this case, free).
    1. revroy's Avatar
      revroy -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      They say these companies and developers are "losing money." I beg to differ. These ultra-cheap sadsacks who pirate apps likely wouldn't pay for them anyway even if the opportunity to steal them wasnt there. Either way, the developers wouldn't be getting paid. There are people out there who won't pay for a $0.99 app. That's as much as a double cheeseburger at McDonalds.
      I have to agree. I don't mind paying for software when it's reasonably priced. But when it's over priced they just won't get my money I'll do with out. of find a cheaper way to do what that software does.
    1. deshawn1680's Avatar
      deshawn1680 -
      mmmmmm..double cheeseburgers!!
    1. LanCo Rider's Avatar
      LanCo Rider -
      Quote Originally Posted by deshawn1680 View Post
      mmmmmm..double cheeseburgers!!
      Exactly what I was thinking.
    1. AKCHRIS's Avatar
      AKCHRIS -
      Actually My Iphone IS Jailbroken for a FEW reasons. 1.Being able too use Themes instead of Wallpaper. I mean let's face it, Wallpaper? 2. The availability of some Apps THAT WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY..on the Iphone( ex.. A cracked App called MCleaner WHICH allows me too Basically Block ALL #s from my Iphone OR..Block SMS txts. So far the App store ISN'T too chummy on getting THAT app. 3. Jailbroken iphones allow a certain customization that you JUST can't do with a Normal Iphone.( ex I have an App called Tone FX which allows my too Make Custom Ring tones for not ONLY, in-coming Txt BUT also My Mail, OR..when I put my phone in Sleep mode. 4. Yes I do think that SOME apps you SHOULD pay for. I myself have ALOT of Paid AND Free(aka Cracked Apps). 5) When it Comes down too it. It's about as I b4 mentioned Customization.I want too do things with my Iphone that..well just can't be Done OR..will never happen. I currently OWN an 3G, now with the 3GS out an the ability too use the recording feature on the 3GS i didn't want too spend $600 for a 3GS, so..I use a Cracked App called Cycorder which is JUST the same as the Recording Feature on 3GS although the quality is AS GOOD BUT.. it's almost damn near too it.BUT..i can do the SAME thing with My 3G that the 3GS can Now do. So for those whom wish too Knock Jailbreaking Iphone's or Apps, don't Knock it until u try it, and please do not use the excuse of those who ruin it for other's because that statement can be used in SOOO many ways.As I said there's going too be a FEW who think Free Apps ALL THE TIME is better then paying $.99 for one.Like I said I have BOTH Payed AND Free Apps on my Phone,Apps that the App Store will NEVER see.
    1. wgm214's Avatar
      wgm214 -
      jailbroken apps arent cracked apps, cracked apps are paid apps available in the appstore...which u can get for free once there drm is stripped.
    1. ikesmasher's Avatar
      ikesmasher -
      apple cant do anything about it. theyll increase security,or something,and then some desperate person will find a loophole.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      its not right but its commonplace
    1. cushcalc's Avatar
      cushcalc -
      I am using one cracked app right now, actually a jailbroken app that had a price to the full featured version - I actually tried to purchase the app but it seems that the developer has gone AWOL - so to get the full features rather than the limited features of the trial version, I downloaded the cracked version. I use it daily, and keep looking for the developer occasionally. I would gladly pay a few bucks for the value of this app (Chronus, in case you're wondering, and in case anyone has current info about the developer).

      So I see the value of the availability of cracked apps, to try before you buy, or like me, to get full features of an apparently discontinued program. But I don't think it is anyone's right to use any number of cracked apps just because they can, or just because they don't want to pay. I've always liked shareware for Windows, and for Windows Mobile phones, because I could try first, and buy and reward the dev if the app was good and useful for me.
    1. iLaw-One's Avatar
      iLaw-One -
      Apple sure is cleaning out so much money...
    1. huriel's Avatar
      huriel -
      my guess is that apple is more concern about the ipad. nobody wants to buy it(well the people I know) its just an oversized ipod touch with no camera(that means no video chat with my cousin ned) and plus they're giving them away!? Anyway the only good thing is the gameplay and jailbrakeing it. (ps.the funny thing is i bought one.)