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Piracy Google Software

Android Software Piracy Rampant 510

bednarz writes "Pirating Android apps is a longstanding problem. But it seems to be getting worse, even as Google begins to respond much more aggressively. The dilemma: protecting developers' investments, and revenue stream, while keeping an open platform. Some have argued that piracy is rampant in those countries where the online Android Market is not yet available. But a recent KeyesLabs research project suggests that may not be true: 'Over the course of 90 days, the [KeyesLabs] app was installed a total of 8,659 times. Of those installations only 2,831 were legitimate purchases, representing an overall piracy rate of over 67%.... The largest contributor to piracy, by far, is the United States providing 4,054 or about 70% of all pirated installations...'"
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Android Software Piracy Rampant

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  • I bought games (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:17PM (#33735626)

    I bought a few android apps and every now and then one fails claims to be unlicensed to I have to install it again.

    If I had a pirated apps they wouldn't do that.

    Having to be online to use what I paid for when I could use for FREE and while offline what someone else stole annoys me. It makes me feel I'm getting poor value for money.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:17PM (#33735630)
    Google along with the developers need to make incentives for purchasing "legitimate" copies of Android software. For one, it doesn't have a great "gift card" mechanism, yes, you can register a gift card as a Google Checkout card and it does work, but it isn't as seamless as buying an iTunes giftcard, typing in the number and seeing your balance at all times. Secondly, there are a crapload of Android apps that are overpriced, you can't expect someone to pay for essentially a tech demo or utility. Markets like the Android market give people a large ego into thinking that people -should- pay $.99 for a few images and sounds it took you a few hours to find on Google then make a quick program to organize them. And number three, a lot of apps simply don't work. Unless there is a free version equivalent to all the features of the paid version, no one wants to spend even $.99 on something that doesn't work then deal with the hassle of returning the application.
  • Re:Kids these days? (Score:3, Informative)

    by KillaGouge ( 973562 ) <> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:29PM (#33735816)
    So not all apps fall under the 24hr return policy the Android Market has?
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:32PM (#33735870) Homepage
    I remember reading a blog post [] by 2D Boy, makers of World of Goo, that stated that they calculated a piracy rate of 90%. That's on an independent game, that only cost $15. It's a great game, and well worth the money. There's also absolutely no DRM on the game so there's no reason to assume that people are "pirating" because they need to get around copy protection for a game they already bought. They added corrections to the blog post, later, correcting the number to around 82%. So 67% doesn't seem all that bad in comparison.
  • Re:KeyesLab app? (Score:3, Informative)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:44PM (#33736048) Homepage Journal

    That's something I was contemplating... the app itself and the price its set at (as well as other factors) could dramatically affect these numbers.

    For example, if adobe were to loosen their DRM system on say, elements, a very useful and respected app, and price it at $500 a license, the pirated vs legit licenses would be somewhere around 95%. OTOH if the app was priced at $10/license and kept its DRM, the rate would probably be somewhere around 5%. The piracy rate is a function of the DRM and and of the value of the software and the reasonableness of the price for a specific market.

    The market also plays into it a bit. You may have a wickedly useful app in a highly specialized market, so you price it high and still get low piracy rates because the ones buying it need it, recognize its quality, and can easily afford it. But then say a smaller amateur market realizes how useful it can be to them, but no way in hell they want to pay whats being asked for it for a hobby, so the piracy rate in that market, for the same app, could easily be over 90%.

    Compare say, photoshop in CS, versus elements. They used plan B. When people with shallower pockets want to use your pricey software, the profitable way to do it is to offer a lower grade of software, at a lower price, so they can reasonably buy instead of pirate. It's when a small number of large sales gets less profit than a much larger number of smaller sales.

    You have to fine tune your price point to optimize your revenue. Too low and you're missing out on what people are willing to pay. Too high and piracy starts to drive the curve downward on the other side. Either find the sweet spot for your one product, piss everyone off with draconian DRM, or offer multiple tiers of your product at different price points. Of course having multiple versions of your software makes fine tuning your price points a major headache, but can work to squeeze the most out of the market.

    I guess all I'm saying is that piracy rate in itself doesn't really say much about where the problem is. Anyone that tells you that this leads to just one obvious conclusion, (like, oh we NEED DRM! or THIS PLATFORM'S USERS ARE ALL PIRATES!) is either an idiot, or is pushing an agenda. So someone bringing up a specific software example without providing any of the necessary details to sort out all the possible factors is either an idiot or is trying to deceive you.

  • by varmittang ( 849469 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:50PM (#33736114)
    They probably have some part of their game that connects to a server to post scores, or some code that phones home. But most likely its a score posting and during that connection they get a unique ID for that phone so you can over write your best score. But if 8,659 people send in scores, but only 2,831 purchases were made, they can determine that most likely there is a 67% piracy rate for their application. So, its a guess, but a very educated guess, and could actually be said to be the lowest their app is being pirated, in that it could be higher amount of people having it installed but are not phoning home.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:36PM (#33736776)

    Wow...I don't have the money to buy a yacht. I guess going out and stealing one is a necessity?

    If you can "steal" a yacht by making an exact copy of it without harming or taking the original, then yes, go right ahead.

  • Re:Do they? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JAlexoi ( 1085785 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:09PM (#33738436) Homepage
    When people want statistics to be believable, they explain how those statistics were gathered. Those are the facts.
    PS: Their "facts" are mere claims.
  • by toriver ( 11308 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:22PM (#33738634)

    Um, have you looked at the options when you "Report a problem" with an app? There are people who have had purchases refunded from the App Store after complaints, presumably on a case-by-case basis.

    Also, watch my Google Fu [].

  • by mjbkinx ( 800231 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:53PM (#33739116)
    You can get refunds. It's a common complaint that when a user does this, the developer has to refund the full price, including Apple's tax.
  • by froggymana ( 1896008 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:11PM (#33740150)
    Didn't the makers of World of Goo (2Dboy) basically go bankrupt since they made so little money on the game?
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:48PM (#33741824) Homepage Journal

    A pay-as-you-go data plan isn't that expensive, is it?

    It is in the United States, where phones are typically purchased from carriers, and the carriers specializing in pay-as-you-go plans tend not to carry Android phones.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982