A survey carried out by Protection Technology Research (PTR), a subsidiary company of StarForce Technologies (www.star-force.com)
Android is the world’s most popular mobile platform, providing an open source operating system and software for smartphones, computer tablets and other mobile devices. There are now more than 400 million activated devices worldwide. Piracy is now regarded as a major headache for software and application developers.
PTR develops and markets software and content protection systems under the internationally-
The PTR survey was carried out during August 2012 on the StarForce website and through social networking channels. Participants were asked if Android piracy is impacting on their business. Responses were provided by more than 100 developers. The survey responses are shown in Graphs 1 and 2 (attached).
Although 45 per cent said they are currently not concerned about piracy issues, 55 per cent of the software and application developers who took part in the survey are worried about the increasing risks.
Julie Titova, business development director at PTR, commented; “The results of our survey show that a majority of developers recognise the Android piracy issue as a serious threat to their businesses.
“I am sure that when we carry out this survey again, in six to 12 months time, the number of companies that will have experienced this problem at first-hand will have increased. Therefore we expect the level of concern will rise accordingly.”
Some developers have reported up to 100,000 downloads of applications and games; the bad news is that only about 10 per cent of them have been paid for. Many Android developers use in-app advertisements or free-to-play models to increase their revenue but still make less from paid applications than iOS developers.
Others fear that the freedom for users to install applications from different sources, together with low prices and ‘free’ apps – while massively appealing – could ultimately damage the entire Android infrastructure.
Last month software security expert Dmitry Gusev warned that the problem of lost revenue due to unauthorised application copying is set to intensify. In his article – http://www.metrixmarketing.co.uk/
“The survey results reinforce this view and indicate that Android piracy is now a serious issue,” said Julie Titova. “There is currently no reliable Android digital rights management in place globally which could protect software against tampering, reverse-engineering and illegal distribution.”
PTR was recently awarded a $1 million investment grant by the Skolkovo Foundation to develop pioneering software protection and licensing for mobile devices. The Skolkovo Foundation is developing Russia’s flagship innovation hub Skolkovo, a new high-tech scientific research centre near Moscow.
PTR is using the grant to develop software protection and licensing for various mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. A licensing system known as StarForce Mobile is also being developed.
The company’s pioneering work is expected to make applications ‘hacker-proof’
Julie Titova added: “Solutions to prevent the piracy of applications and software are needed urgently. The investment from the Skolkovo Foundation for mobile software digital rights management development is helping us to move closer towards providing that solution in the near future.
“Protection and licensing systems for mobile platforms will provide a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for copyright owners of mobile content, developers of mobile software, publishers and distributors.
“As well as providing code protection against reverse engineering, the system will have the ability to control content and software distribution and to define distribution policy.”