Yesterday The Yankee Group released an interesting set of findings from a research study they conducted. The crux of the article was around how Android app piracy is hurting Android developers. The report claims that because of app piracy on Android, developers are losing up to $10,000 in revenue.
We have known for a while that Android has an issue with malware being brought in through apps and now to add to the issues plaguing developers they now have the added threat of having their software pirated.
Android has always catered to the “tech tinkerer” so it isn’t shocking that these underground app stores exist where you can get any app you want for free.
Google’s lack of control or polices related to the Android Market is one of the biggest weaknesses of the entire Android ecosystem. A quote from the report states:
“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.”
The Yankee Group’s survey findings from Android developers parallel our discussions with them as well. Many developers we speak with, who develop apps for both iOS and Android, constantly tell us of their frustration and fear with the Android Market.
This is one of the reasons we think that what Amazon is up to could prove disastrous for the Android Market. If some of our early theoretical analysis is correct, Amazon may be planning to use their fork of Android to entice Android developers away from the Android Market.
From many of the developers we have spoken with who also submit apps to Amazon’s app store we have heard much more positive things. Things like Amazon supports them more, has better recommendation algorithms to help their app get discovered and economic value as well. On top of that Amazon doesn’t accept every app submitted, they do actually have a process for approving quality applications to their store.
Based on much of our own research as well as many new reports like the one from the Yankee Group, we have to conclude that for the time being iOS is still the safer and more reasonable platform for developers to continue to pour resources into developing applications for.
For any platform to be successful it needs to have a robust, thriving and more importantly confident software developer community. Google needs to resolve these issues, take more control and cater more to developers if they want their version of Android to continue to garner support from developers.
To add further support for the argument that iOS is still the best place to focus precious developer resources to, the report also states that iOS consumers download six times more apps than Android consumers. So for the developer there is a 6x better chance of getting their application into the hands of consumers.
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