Stolen Copyrighted Android Apps Spotted on BlackBerry App World Storefront

by Istvan Fekete on January 9, 2013

The first step is always the hardest. Since the mobile market is dominated by two powerful mobile platforms, iOS and Android, it’s getting even harder for a new platform to attract top developers, due to the app monetization process. We don’t have to go too far — just take a look at Microsoft: they struggled to reach the 100,000 app milestone, and their app store now counts about 150,000 apps, compared to 775,000 in the App Store and 600,000 in Google Play.

With the BlackBerry 10 scheduled to go public in the near future, Research In Motion reports that it is making progress with its BlackBerry App World to house more than 70,000 BlackBerry 10 applications. And they have found a pretty good solution: the new BlackBerry OS supports Android apps — well sort of — as the company made it very easy to repackage existing Android apps for BlackBerry 10, and provided an online tool that will take an Android APK and turn it into a BlackBerry-compatible BAR file, which can be published in RIM’s app store.

Yet the ease of this process can cause issues for developers and could harm RIM’s reputation, as it did in a case reported by an Android developer on Reddit.

The developer warned his fellow Android developers that some people are taking advantage of this easy process, stealing Android apps, and publishing them in the BlackBerry App World without the author’s consent. He continued by describing how easy this process is: somebody downloaded his app from Google Play, converted the APK using RIM’s online converter, and got the BB10-compatible app published in RIM’s app store.

The main issue is that RIM doesn’t check the origin of the apps to make sure the listing comes from the author and not somebody else. This is something the company needs to work on if it wants to attract top developers.

Although RIM has already taken several steps (some stolen Android apps have already been removed from BB App World), the developer’s case shows there is room for improvement. Meanwhile, if a developer believes their copyright and trademark rights are being violated by third-party content on the BlackBerry App World, they can submit a complaint to RIM’s IP team. In case of copyright or trademark violation, the app will be removed from the storefront.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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