iPhone App Store developers find ways to profit from pirates

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Faced with a large number of users stealing their applications, iPhone developers have found ways to earn money even from those who pirate App Store software.



Developers of popular iPhone and iPod touch applications Tap Tap Revenge and Shazam were a part of the MIDEM Music Conference in Cannes recently. According to Moconews.net, when Tap Tap Revenge garnered 2.5 million downloads in its first two months, a million were pirated copies.



But Tim O'Brien, head of business development with game maker Tapulous, said many of those pirates now buy legal music downloads from within the game. In the end, the developer is making a profit from many of those who initially stole their software.



"We?ve started running ads to the pirate users more aggressively," O'Brien said. "Some of those users, because we sell virtual goods, have become high-volume users."



Sales from pirates have helped the company to earn nearly $1 million per month. The $0.99 rhythm game Tap Tap Revenge 3 has more than 25 million users and it is one of the most popular titles on the App Store. Tapulous has been profitable since June.



It's also helped Shazam, which sells songs through its music identifying software. Company officials said 13 percent of those who identify a song with their software buy it through an in-app purchase.



The ability to offer in-app purchases through free software was added in October. Prior to that, the iPhone OS 3.0 update gave the capability for paid applications. Developers praised the feature as an important revenue opportunity within the App Store.



This month, one analysis estimated the App Store has lost nearly $450 million in revenue due to software piracy. It said some apps have come with piracy rates as high as 90 percent. Software can be pirated through a process known as jailbreaking, which allows users to run unauthorized code on their handset. Apple and the hacking community have been in a long back-and-forth battle over running unsanctioned software on the iPhone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 139
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    Well that is why many companies create light or free versions of apps.
  • Reply 2 of 139
    The very fact that someone would bother to pirate a 99 cent or $1.99 app just illustrates what kind of mentality permeates consumer and geek culture. Further reinforces the notion of a "freemium" app being the best model.
  • Reply 3 of 139
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Well that is why many companies create light or free versions of apps.



    I think we just said the same thing.
  • Reply 4 of 139
    Way to play up the "jailbreaking is for piracy" line. That's just what Apple wants people to think. My phone is jailbroken mostly because the unlocking software also jailbreaks at the same time. All the apps I have that didn't come from the App Store are utilities that aren't on the App Store.
  • Reply 5 of 139
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post


    Way to play up the "jailbreaking is for piracy" line. That's just what Apple wants people to think. My phone is jailbroken mostly because the unlocking software also jailbreaks at the same time. All the apps I have that didn't come from the App Store are utilities that aren't on the App Store.



    Jailbreaking isn't illegal, but it is the only way to run pirated apps. I believe that was the point.
  • Reply 6 of 139
    I'm really curious what they consider to be pirated.



    Do they consider sharing an applications between my wife and myself to be pirating? Even if this is done within iTunes and the homesharing feature?



    I wonder if they simply are counting the amount paid minus the amount downloaded... which may make me a "pirate" in this case...
  • Reply 7 of 139
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I think some of this piracy can be combated by offering trial period apps over Lite versions with limited functionality. I have pirated apps, for instance the $99 TomTom app because I wasn’t willing to fork over that much to test an app’s usability. I didn’t like it so I deleted it. I can many people doing this for much cheaper apps but then not deleting them.



    By making it convenient to try out the app and then continue the use after the trial period is over I suspect devs will profit more. I’d think leaving the duration of the trial period up to the developer. It’s not unprecedented with FairPlay as Apple’s movie rentals use exploding DRM that seems to work out quite well.
  • Reply 8 of 139
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jarina View Post


    I'm really curious what they consider to be pirated.



    Do they consider sharing an applications between my wife and myself to be pirating? Even if this is done within iTunes and the homesharing feature?



    I wonder if they simply are counting the amount paid minus the amount downloaded... which may make me a "pirate" in this case...



    If it's allowed from within iTunes, I don't think it's considered pirated... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  • Reply 9 of 139
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    The App Store: is there anything it can't do?
  • Reply 10 of 139
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    I bet about 95% of all jailbreaks are people who wanna run the phone on their own carrier of choice without paying the stupid unlock fee. Then the temptation of piracy is just a step away.

    Apple could effectively stop mass jailbreaking if they wanted to, simply by offering the iPhone unlocked for all carriers at a decent price, not stupid premium pricing.
  • Reply 11 of 139
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    If it's allowed from within iTunes, I don't think it's considered pirated... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?







    You can download .ipa's anywhere , drag them into itunes, and sync them right up with a jailbroken phone plus appropriate software.
  • Reply 12 of 139
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    The App Store: is there anything it can't do?



    "Looking for an Apple Walnut Salad at midnight? There's an App Store for that."
  • Reply 13 of 139
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    I bet about 95% of all jailbreaks are people who wanna run the phone on their own carrier of choice without paying the stupid unlock fee. Then the temptation of piracy is just a step away.

    Apple could effectively stop mass jailbreaking if they wanted to, simply by offering the iPhone unlocked for all carriers at a decent price, not stupid premium pricing.



    I don?t see what unlocking has to do with jailbreaking or how selling an unlocked iPhone would alter the price for ?all carriers? since pretty much all feasible carriers already offer the iPhone. Care to clarify?
  • Reply 14 of 139
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    If it's allowed from within iTunes, I don't think it's considered pirated... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?



    I think you can authenticate five machines per iTunes account. And any iPhone synced to these machines can run the apps, right? So family management is truly ok.
  • Reply 15 of 139
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    The very fact that someone would bother to pirate a 99 cent or $1.99 app just illustrates what kind of mentality permeates consumer and geek culture....





    I'm assuming the most jail broken and pirated apps occur in China, where street vendors compete with each other who has the most to offer.



    A 20lb bag of rice that can make 1000 meals sells for $10 in the U.S. (less in China), works out to be about 1¢ a meal.



    99¢ = 99 meals in China. Meat and veggies are a compliment to rice, perhaps only eaten once per day.



    So to a average American, 99¢ might not mean too much.



    They do tend to save up to get a jail broken iPhone, so they can get online and talk free over wifi.
  • Reply 16 of 139
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    I'd say not, pirating is jailbreaking an iPhone then sourcing a file containing 800 pirated Apps including all the high priced navigation Apps, games etc.



    A friend who just bought an iPhone was asking me for advice regarding this and people who bring their iPhone's into the phone store I work at also ask about it.



    You see Cydia and I guarantee that they also have the pirated software App store, which I won't name.



    No jailbreaking equals no piracy.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jarina View Post


    I'm really curious what they consider to be pirated.



    Do they consider sharing an applications between my wife and myself to be pirating? Even if this is done within iTunes and the homesharing feature?



    I wonder if they simply are counting the amount paid minus the amount downloaded... which may make me a "pirate" in this case...



  • Reply 17 of 139
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,572member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    I think you can authenticate five machines per iTunes account. And any iPhone synced to these machines can run the apps, right? So family management is truly ok.



    Yes and no. My wife and I use different iTunes accounts because it worked better for something. Goofy stuff like that can push people to pirate a copy of software. There are a few paid apps both of us bought, but when you hit a certain price point it is a bit of an insult.
  • Reply 18 of 139
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    If it's allowed from within iTunes, I don't think it's considered pirated... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?



    We have one iTunes account and four devices. When I bought a game and recommended it to my wife she, using the same account, got a message saying she already had the app and therefore she didn't have to pay - or words to that effect. Are we pirates? ARRRR!
  • Reply 19 of 139
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Yes and no. My wife and I use different iTunes accounts because it worked better for something. Goofy stuff like that can push people to pirate a copy of software. There are a few paid apps both of us bought, but when you hit a certain price point it is a bit of an insult.



    Me and my wife both have different iTunes accounts and we can share apps. We even use Home Sharing to transfer apps between our Macs. All you need is to authorize each iTunes to use the other person account.
  • Reply 20 of 139
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    If it's allowed from within iTunes, I don't think it's considered pirated... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?



    i believe the terms and conditions for itunes state that you can use any materials on unlimited devices, so you would be fine.



    Also there's really no 'back and forth' on the issue. Apple has made it clear that if you jailbreak and/or unlock you are on your own. they will refuse service if they find evidence of either.



    so do it if you wish, but you better hope you've got a perfect phone that never breaks down etc.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    I bet about 95% of all jailbreaks are people who wanna run the phone on their own carrier of choice without paying the stupid unlock fee.



    two different games. not everyone that does one does the other.



    also, at least in the US there's not unlock fee. You can't unlock under the terms. there's a blackmarket for unlocking and some folks will do it for a price. but you can not,for example,go to ATT with your iphone and say 'okay so I did my two years, unlock it' at any price at this point in time



    Quote:

    Apple could effectively stop mass jailbreaking if they wanted to, simply by offering the iPhone unlocked for all carriers at a decent price, not stupid premium pricing.



    again, jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking.



    to your other comment. the prices are what they are due to the carrier subsidies. you can bet if Apple goes and unlocks for all carriers with the right tech, you'll be paying full retail from Apple (currently $499-699) or less if you agree to a contract with your carrier in exchange for a subsidy. same as now
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