Apple's true enemy - hacked iPhone Apps
I always thought that Google/Android were Apple's true enemies, but they are not—it is hacking.
We develop iPhone apps at Global Emotion and I always thought that Apple's Appstore is the only marketplace where people purchase apps. We always think Apple likes to control and protect everything, so I naturally assumed illegal downloads are not a big threat for iPhone developers. What would be the point, if we paid a lot of money to develop iPhone apps and then got no revenue out of it? That would be a bad business case.
Our main iPhone app is "Getting Flirty" and it got great media attention from India to Europe. Even the Washington Post talked about it. But the numbers of official downloads never really reflected the high media attention. Then I stumbled on a forum where somebody was looking for our app. He even was complaining that he couldn't find it. That was strange to me, because he just had to type in "Getting Flirty" into the search field in the App Store.
Then I searched the forum and saw that the people were talking about illegal downloads of iPhone apps. After a while I found this particular download site. If you are an iPhone programmer, you can check there if your app has been hacked. I followed one link from here and the following screenshot shows that our app is not only downloadable, but has been downloaded A LOT.
Until today it has been downloaded illegally more than 174,000 times - just on that site! Our app costs $9.99 in the App Store, so we are facing here a loss of more than $1.7 million (minus the 30% Apple takes from us) due to illegal downloads. It is nice that so many people like our app, but we could have used this money!
Now I really have to ask myself: is Apple is still in control if they continue to commission development of iPhone apps, but people do not get the revenue out of it due to the illegal downloads?
What is Apple doing against it? Will Apple be able to turn the wheel around? We iPhone developers from small companies would really appreciate it.