App downloads in the U.S. are booming to the tune of 40 apps per user per year, according to the Yankee Group. However, not all platforms are participating equally in the frenzy.
Android developers make much less money from paid apps than do Apple iOS developers.
A recent survey of 75 Android developers conducted by Skyhook suggests that rampant piracy of Android apps may be the primary culprit.
Piracy is a problem for Android. Among the Android developers surveyed, 27 percent see piracy as a huge problem and another 26 percent see it as somewhat of a problem.
Google isn’t helping. Fifty-three percent of developer respondents say Google is too lax in its Android Market policies.
Piracy hurts developers’ top and bottom lines. 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.”