Software Piracy Costs Android Developers Serious Money

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While App downloads in the U.S. are booming to the tune of 40 apps per user per year, according to research firm Yankee Group, not all platforms are participating equally in the frenzy. For instance, Android developers make much less money from paid apps than do Apple iOS developers. A recent survey of 75 Android developers conducted by location-based services specialist Skyhook suggests that rampant software piracy of Android apps may be the primary reason.

Among the Android developers surveyed,27 percent see piracy as a huge problem and another 26 percent see it as somewhat of a problem. And 53 percent of developers surveyed say Google is too lax in its Android Market policies.

About a third of developers say piracy has cost them in excess of $10,000 in revenue. Additionally, 32 percent say it increases their support costs, while another quarter say they see increased server costs due to heavy loads imposed by pirated copies.

“Android apps are living in the Wild West without a sheriff,” said Carl Howe, Yankee Group director of research and author of the report “Android Piracy: How Republished Apps Steal Revenue and Increase Costs.” “With five other major mobile OSs competing for consumer dollars, Google can’t afford to simply let pirates kill app developers’ businesses. They need to foster some law and order or developers will flee to other platforms and Android will lose customers,” noted Howe.

A joint study conducted by the Yankee Group and Skyhook shows that Apple users download six times more paid apps than do Android users.

In July, Skyhook announced that HopStop, a leading provider of transit routing, has integrated Skyhook’s Location Engine in its mobile app to augment the native location system in Android.

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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