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App Developer: Android Designed For Piracy

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-thought-it-was-for-fighting-robots dept.

Android 596

Following news this week of a game developer who turned the Android version of a game free because of piracy concerns, software developer Matt Gemmell has written a lengthy post explaining why he thinks Android apps are laboring under a broken business model. "People have to get paid. There has to be a revenue stream. You can’t reliably have that revenue stream if the platform itself and the damaged philosophy behind it actively sabotages commerce. If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down. Just like in real life, closing the door and locking it helps make sure that your money remains yours. Bad behaviour has to be more difficult than good behaviour - and good behaviour means paying for your software." He also has some harsh arguments about some of the assumptions and philosophies underpinning the an industry built on an open platform. "Nerds like to say that people care about choice at that level. Nerds are wrong. Nerds care about choice, and nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think. Android is designed with far too much nerd philosophy, and open is gravy to those people because it’s synonymous with customization. ... Open is broken as a money-making platform model, unless you’re making the OS or the handsets. Most of us aren't doing that."

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596 comments

Sure but.. (1, Flamebait)

busyqth (2566075) | about 2 years ago | (#40756627)

Yes is it.
And... what's your point? Google doesn't care. Free to play is Google's model.

Re:Sure but.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756879)

The big issue with Android is that it's based on Linux. Not that there's anything technically wrong with Linux, it's an amazingly powerful and efficient operating system.

The problem is ... Linux kinda smells funny.

You get an Android phone, the hardware is amazing, the UI is slick, it's the best Google has to offer. Then you notice your hand smells a little greasy, it's hard to describe, but kinda like a combination of hot pockets and zit pus. You wash your hands, but the smell keeps coming back. Eventually you remember that time you visited the company server room, and there was that exact same odor. And suddenly you realize it. That smell must be emanating from the Linux kernel!

Again, I can't say enough good things about Linux's technical underpinnings. But keep it in a heavily ventilated datacenter, not your hand.

Wait a sec... (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40756637)

Isn't this the same app that was "pay to win"(pay for the app, then pay another $6 to win, then pay more, and if you do anything that causes a loss in data on your phone, you get screwed out of everything) and people just said: "screw you and shove it up your pie hole." Pretty sure it was.

Re:Wait a sec... (1, Troll)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40756739)

And you suggest that it being a poor game is a good reason to pirate it?

Re:Wait a sec... (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40756801)

And you suggest that it being a poor game is a good reason to pirate it?

I'm suggesting that there's a relative cause and effect to poor business decisions, this is more so true with software than physical goods. People are more likely to pirate something, especially if they feel they're getting reamed over, and reamed over hard. Especially by a developer who's out for an extra hard screw-over.

Re:Wait a sec... (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40756833)

I see, I would probably buy another game instead but I guess that's just me.

Re:Wait a sec... (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40757015)

I see, I would probably buy another game instead but I guess that's just me.

I'd agree, and so would I. Then again, I'd also expect a developer to be up front and honest with me to. Rather than trying to throw a hissy fit in front of the world, then trying to blame piracy. I remember we've seen this monster with a variety of topics before too. In most cases, piracy isn't the monster under the bed, eating children. Now if he'd given the game away free, then sold the things in game. No one would have made a stink over it. Plenty of people make money off their games like that.

Heck, plenty of MMO's do that.

Re:Wait a sec... (3, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#40757243)

The mobile game world is an ocean of shit. Games are either crippled (sorry, "freemium") or just bad shovelware, and finding one that's neither is a futile exercise. When it comes to games my phone is basically a NES/SNES/GBA emulator now.

Re:Wait a sec... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757137)

Or more to the point. Piracy is a lot more apparent to a software developer that can't sell anything.

Re:Wait a sec... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756809)

And you suggest that it being a poor game is a good reason to pirate it?

No, he's just speaking to the developer's attitude. He's not justifying piracy at all.

Re:Wait a sec... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | about 2 years ago | (#40756965)

And you suggest that the developer's being fully and totally honest with us on the reasons, right?

Yup. (3, Insightful)

Grog6 (85859) | about 2 years ago | (#40757019)

Amazingly, the people who can use an Android phone won't pay for an app like that. No shit Sherlock. I mean, Whodathunkit? Non-idiots won't buy garbage.

When I imagine the developer who wrote this app, I think of the girl in the Vonage commercial:"Puppy!" :facepalm:

For him to be successful requires a large number of idiots; apparently, the Android crowd won't be that, and he's miffed.

The people "Pirating it" probably wanted to show their friends how stupid i(whatever) users are.

Before the "pirates" go back to playing Counterstrike...

I judge coworkers on ability by what apps they have on their phone; it makes it a lot easier. :) (My phone makes calls. Only. Yeah, you can still get those.)

Re:Yup. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757115)

We need a follow up to, "Area Man Constantly Telling People He Doesn't Own a Television", "Area Man Constantly Telling People He Doesn't Own a Smartphone".

The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a family (0, Troll)

cornicefire (610241) | about 2 years ago | (#40756673)

What a jerk. He probably wants to eat food, buy a house, see a doctor, and raise a family. :-) Open source sharing is great with programmers, but with the rest of the world it's a one-way street. Money is the only way that 99.9% of the world can support software because they can't code or do anything but complain about bugs. So money it's got to be. I would barter, but it's rather inefficient. Thank goodness for cash.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (4, Insightful)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | about 2 years ago | (#40756725)

I don't see _why_ all work should be compensated, is the notion of someone developing software for fun --instead of say, watching TV-- really that far-fetched?

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 2 years ago | (#40756769)

No, but at some point, your hobby might turn into something that can make you money, and it's nice to be able to make the switch.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (3, Insightful)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 2 years ago | (#40756995)

However, just like with any other career, you don't get to decide the exact terms of the switch on your own.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1)

equex (747231) | about 2 years ago | (#40756821)

Does anyone code for fun after they leave moms basement ? Everyone has to make money and those who claim to program for fun are really just hoping to be 'discovered' and brought into the industry.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | about 2 years ago | (#40757029)

If they are coding for recognition, to build up a resume etc., then they hopefully enter the industry later on, after which it's not their problem if and when the product actually gets sold / pirated / ignored. If however, one is in the business for the money (not intended as an insult, we do have to make a living after all), then why don't they do programming as what could be called, a "day-job" at some large-ish company. The developers at aren't getting money because they're greedy or anything, it's because they're programming whatever produces _instead_ of what they'd like. After which, they can go home, and work on the Linux kernel or something..

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | about 2 years ago | (#40757059)

/.-s comment system not helping me here: The developers at COMPANY aren't getting money because they're greedy or anything, it's because they're programming whatever COMPANY produces _instead_ of what they'd like.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#40756729)

The moron (and you) is conflating open source and piracy... which is moronic.

The whole blog post is so.... morony.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756933)

They told us about Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons in physics class... What they forgot to tell us about were morons.

Sadly...those particles exceed the entire number of the rest combined...as evidenced by the Blog and at least a few posters in this thread...

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (2)

mdenham (747985) | about 2 years ago | (#40757201)

Stupidity: the fifth, and strongest, of the known quantum forces.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756759)

He probably wants to eat food, yes. But there is no law guaranteeing that he can earn money for his food using a business model he just happened to dream up. Impossible to make money developing third-party software for Android? Well, maybe. But that only means one thing: Don't try. Just because music and movies seemed to do well for such a long time using a broken business model doesn't mean that everyone who has ideas is entitled to copy that broken model and get filthy stinking rich.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40756803)

Then he can go get a fucking job. armchair game writing is like playing music at a local bar, you are a complete moron if you think you will make you living doing that.

anyone that writes an app and thinks the money will just come rolling in, then they are one of the stupidest people on the planet. ASSUME you will have 50% piracy, and pray it's not more than that. anyone that did any research at all into software publishing knows this.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756939)

"ASSUME you will have 50% piracy" ...unless you write for iOS, then you don't have to make that assumption.

Thanks for proving his point.

Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (1)

dingen (958134) | about 2 years ago | (#40757195)

Most Android developers would be very, very happy if only 50% of their users pirated their software.

Why does Windows work then? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756679)

Windows as a platform, at least until Vista/7/8, did nothing to enforce app piracy. That was left purely to the developer. App development was as open as could be - MS imposed no restrictions on distribution and left DRM and similar to the application developer.

Can the author of this editorial kindly explain why there are numerous profitable applications for Windows, during the XP era?

Re:Why does Windows work then? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40756771)

Who says that Windows works? Unless your the size of Microsoft or Adobe, being successful on Windows in this regard is really hard.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#40756853)

Being successful on any platform is really hard. However there are plenty of companies that have made huge sums of money making Windows software despite rampant piracy.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756961)

Can you name a few? Honest question. Bonus if you can name companies who aren't moving to the web and/or in decline.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757101)

Adobe Photoshop
AutoCAD ... let's see, what else have I seen at the top of the warez lists in the past 10 years.

Oh right. Windows

Re:Why does Windows work then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757049)

You are completely correct, Windows is pretty much a failure for cheapo consumer apps. There's no market for shareware or indie development anymore, outside of Steam games (which is the app store model). And with PC retail channels rapidly disappearing, the old shovelware CDROM stuff has disappeared behind a lone rack of antivirus software.

There's a big reason MS is putting their appstore on Windows 8 front-and-center. They've lost the basement software entrepreneur.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 2 years ago | (#40756811)

App development was as open as could be

Can I have some of what you're smoking?

Re:Why does Windows work then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756915)

Care to elaborate?
As far as I am aware it is as open as it can be.
Anyone can write some code, compile it and stick it on a website for people to download and install.

Law of Large Numbers... and... (1)

Petersko (564140) | about 2 years ago | (#40756897)

Can the author of this editorial kindly explain why there are numerous profitable applications for Windows, during the XP era?

Simple. The publisher themselves often included the security that the O/S did not - things like serial numbers, key generation, and call-home authentication. Also, the market for Windows apps is vast enough that people can profit even if a small number of users pay up.

So perhaps android apps might sell more if you had to get a serial number derived from your device's unique identifier, and supplied by the software publisher... but maybe it would sell less instead.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#40756911)

My thoughts exactly. If being designed for pirates means that they do nothing to stop pirates then Android is designed for pirates. As is Windows, Linux, OSX, and probably every OS except iOS. Not counting consoles that is. That doesn't mean its impossible to make money selling applications for those platforms.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (5, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about 2 years ago | (#40757149)

First of all, I don't think selling games for Windows is all that profitable, at least when it comes to single player / offline games (which is the bulk of the Android games). Piracy is huge, that's why the whole industry shifted towards consoles and online during the last decade or so. I'm sure there are some AAA games generating money, but it's pretty much a "the winner takes it all" situation. I'd be glad to be pointed to evidence stating the opposite, but I'm under the impression it's just a handful of publishers who are getting rich and the rest of the industry isn't getting a lot out of selling PC games.

But more significant I think is the fact that Windows is basically a monopoly and for most users synonymous with the PC. People don't think about using Windows, they aren't choosing it consciously, which means the demographic of who is using Windows is pretty much "everyone". So despite the insane amounts of piracy on the Windows platform, that demographic still includes a lot of folks who don't know how to pirate a game or don't mind paying for a game and aren't all that interested in piracy, because everybody uses Windows.

Android on the other hand is in a whole other market. There isn't a clear monopolist when it comes to handhelds, there are all sorts of platforms competing for a piece of the mobile pie. Android appeals mainly to two huge groups of people: 1) the tech savvy folks who like an open platform, but also know how to pirate software and to 2) people who are looking for a bargain. The result of this situation is that the number of Android users who are actually willing to pay for their applications is very, very low.

In my view, this is why it is *a lot* harder for Android to be a profitable ecosystem for developers than it ever was for Windows.

Re:Why does Windows work then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757213)

Microsoft does nothing much to prevent piracy ion Windows. That's why application developers do the DRM work instead - including Microsoft for their own applications.

Yes, there is piracy. But there is also a big market and lots of people who don't pirate.

But, even more importantly, it's easier to be good than be bad for most people. Hunting down a crack or a pirated key isn't the way most people go - especially in businesses. In fact, most reputable companies fire anyone who puts pirated software on their computer. Companies don't like the bad publicity for a lawsuit from the BSA.

On the other hand, Android piracy is easy and usually done by individuals.

Offensive (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756685)

It is "nerds" who invented all the platforms this person is selling or not selling stuff on, and it is "nerds" who wrote the code he sells. The term "nerd" is offensive and derogatory. At this point, I don't even care what he is talking about because I'm so pissed about how he is saying is.

Re:Offensive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756779)

Calm down and read what the man has to say. I promise that he's not going to steal your lunch money and give you a wedgie.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757247)

If you're offended by being called a nerd, stop acting so damn nerdy.

Lord Help Matt Gemmell (3, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#40756697)

What if someone finds a way, *GULP*, to root iOS devices like they do with those Android phones!?! They'll be able to install pirated iOS apps!

The entire market will crash, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... it'll be mass hysteria.

And then Matt can say he warned us all.

Settings, enable apps from "unknown sources" (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#40756867)

What if someone finds a way, *GULP*, to root iOS devices like they do with those Android phones!?! They'll be able to install pirated iOS apps!

Rooting an iOS device requires some effort, some risk. Not much but it doesn't take much to deter people from going that route. In contrast on many Android devices rooting is unnecessary, just going into settings and allowing apps from "unknown sources".

Re:Settings, enable apps from "unknown sources" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757169)

Like installing ANY application in Windows from "unknown sources"?

Sold! (5, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 years ago | (#40756717)

"Nerds like to say that people care about choice at that level. Nerds are wrong. Nerds care about choice, and nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think."

I think this guy just sold me my first Android phone. Also:

"If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down."

Yeah, because no one ever could figure out a way to make money selling Windows software.

Re:Sold! (-1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40756805)

Yeah because Windows apps are never pirated.

Re:Sold! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757067)

This is RIAA logic, assuming every person using warez is a lost sale is idiotic.

Re:Sold! (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40757157)

In this case their logic makes some sense.
The difference is that instead of pirating Photoshop you could buy a much cheaper alternative or support open source.

Re:Sold! (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | about 2 years ago | (#40757087)

Pirated copy != lost sale.

Re:Sold! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757197)

Pirated copy != lost sale.

What do you think this article is about?
What did you think the cutting the price of the Android game to $0 was about?

These pieces were written by people with actual recent experience trying to sell their Android creations. What do you have, links to Mike's fabulous economic theories on Techdirt?

Re:Sold! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757127)

The vast majority of copies of Photoshop are pirated. This has not prevented "photoshopping" from becoming a verb, and in fact it has likely helped immensely. Try again.

Re:Sold! (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#40757217)

But the point is that people make money writing Windows Software... even with pirating. They just write compelling and worthwhile software instead of cheesy one off clone games. Those get squashed into places like Kongregate/Newgrounds.

Even with rampant pirating of apps like Photoshop, Adobe still made money.

Re:Sold! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756827)

but don't you SEE!? If only windows was more locked down, actually forget about windows, if your COMPUTER had been more locked down, like a toaster with DRM from hell, he and his ilk could have made so much MORE money! RIAA even has senators willing to support his viewpoint, and they've been shown papers that they've been told proves it!

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756731)

He's right. Super. He can go develop for the iPhone or Windows Phone.

See how choice works?

So, PCs are evil... (1, Flamebait)

JCCyC (179760) | about 2 years ago | (#40756735)

...acording to this tantrum-throwing butthurt loser.

And nobody ever made money selling software for it.

Idiot.

Re:So, PCs are evil... (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | about 2 years ago | (#40757229)

I'm starting to think this is astroturfing by large game developers butthurt because they are "losing" X$ because andriod isn't a pretty walled garden with antipiracy overlords doing the legwork for them. It reeks of corporate greed.

Blame the platform! (2)

H3xx (662833) | about 2 years ago | (#40756737)

Just like Windows was designed for piracy.

Sure, blame all your inabilities to adapt to different distribution models on your target platform. :rolls eyes:

Somebody call the waaambulance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756741)

How about writing better software people actually want to buy?

Yes, that's what made Windows so big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756743)

Seriously, this is utter crap.... "Piracy" is good for the platform. It's up to him if he wants to be on that platform or not. The reason I got a PC and not a Mac when I bought my first computer was simply that I knew more people running Windows than Mac so it would be easier for me to copy software from my friends if I got a PC (this was legal back then, btw).

This might be (1)

joshbroton (2692199) | about 2 years ago | (#40756755)

the douchiest thing I've ever seen posted on Slashdot. Redhat makes money selling support for an open OS. Windows developers make money selling software for an open OS. Stop being lazy and put some DRM on your apps. Stop relying on the platform to do it for you.

Feelings of Entitlement (0, Troll)

jaminJay (1198469) | about 2 years ago | (#40756757)

So, you're entitled to money just because you developed something? No. It should all be free for everyone and you will get paid by those people who wanted it originally. Why did Life of Brian get made? Because George Harrison "wanted to see it". No other reason. Someone wanted it done and paid for it. Everyone else benefited from this desire, and they were able to sell some copies here and there, but it was not through a sense of entitlement to someone else's money that paid for the work to be done.

Re:Feelings of Entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756839)

So, you're entitled to something someone else developed just because you believe it should all be free for everyone?

Re:Feelings of Entitlement (1)

thefinite (563510) | about 2 years ago | (#40756903)

Can I ask how you make a living? Also, did you mean for the title of your post to be ironic relative to what you wrote?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756793)

... go somewhere else and develop! :-p

matt gemell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756799)

imo this guy is a great big farthead

it DOES matter (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756815)

Last summer I interviewed at a startup that was trying to hire 4 people to work on a collaborative mobile game. I got an offer but didn't take the job, but the lead architect said they were targeting iOS and not Android because of the piracy situation on Android. The money is on the iOS side. We can all guess about the reasons, but that's the simple reality.

This has been fixed (4, Informative)

itsphilip (934602) | about 2 years ago | (#40756817)

People are casually forgetting that Google introduced the option to DRM your apps with Jelly Bean and beyond. This is a problem that has essentially been fixed, especially as manufacturers roll out the new version of Android (which is the real problem with Android: that might never happen in the case of many phones). It's a year out probably before lots of people are actually running Jelly Bean, but the process has begun.

It's not me it's you! (2)

Tyr07 (2300912) | about 2 years ago | (#40756831)

Yeah, never heard that before. "It's not my fault, OMGTEHQQS clearly, you don't pay for it not because my idea isn't super awesome, and sucks, it's clearly because you're all pirates and steal my software for how awesome it is."

Right, is that what you're telling your investors?

Oh, and every fat nerd who doesn't take care of themselves isn't constantly thought of by every hot woman in the world simply because other people have pirated their hotness, or is just too orgasmic to think about.
It has nothing to do with their lack of ambition to be a good catch.

Your software does not have the power of Axe.

Piracy... RIIIGHT. (3, Interesting)

Svartalf (2997) | about 2 years ago | (#40756837)

I'm needing chest waders after hearing his excuses.

Sure, being a mediocre at best title isn't an excuse for "stealing" it- but in the same vein, even with fairly SOLID DRM in Google's Store model, he couldn't cut it and blames piracy (I want to see PROOF before I buy his "piracy" excuse...).

This is just bullshit spin. Seriously

Re:Piracy... RIIIGHT. (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#40757151)

The thing that cheeses me off about the entire post is his dismissive about "nerds" as if they are the cause of all his "piracy" ills. First and foremost, market share IS a good indicator of what people want, and Android has that market share. Sure not any single phone manufacturer has Apple beat, but the PLATFORM of Android is eating iOS's lunch, relatively speaking, and continues to do so, in spite of the recent updates to the Apple handset line. I'm not knocking iOS as a platform... if people like it, people like it. But it seems to me that if this blogger was paying attention, he'd realize that people don't WANT a locked down DRM infested, closed and obnoxious to the paying customer platform. THAT is why they pick Android over iOS.

I'm sorry, but this guy's got a boner for iOS and thinks he can't do anything until Android is as locked down and "secure" as his preferred platform. That's not just delusional, but like we nerds say "WE don't CARE what you think."

I just paid for a $10 app. Why? (3, Insightful)

exabrial (818005) | about 2 years ago | (#40756849)

I just paid for a $10 app. Why? Because it actually does something useful: (http://www.backcountrynavigator.com) as opposed to your iCrap application. In additiona, the company actually remembers the "old fashioned" ways to sell things... you know, marketing, sales, and support. I was able to install the demo version and test out all of the features (it wasn't crippleware) to make sure it worked as advertised. The app is also top notch as far as Ux and does what it says it does. The marketing video and "how to use the app" are also top notch. The purchase button was right there, so before I could even go to the piratebay, I hit the purchase button.

You want people to pay for apps? Stop producing iCrap... or make your apps free, because that's about all they're worth.

Helps the platform... (3, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#40756871)

Piracy exists on every platform that ever had any relevant level of market share...
Windows does nothing to hinder application piracy for instance.

Piracy popularises the platform, and what would you rather have, 10% of a million users, or 90% of a thousand users? Some will pay, some won't, and those who don't usually wouldn't have anyway, but on the other hand they are increasing your user base, viewing your ads and have now heard of your company and may well recommend your apps to their friends, some of whom may well buy them.

Windows succeeded largely because both it and the applications running on it could be pirated. If it was not possible to pirate windows, then a significant proportion of the world would be running something else, either linux or something else that they can pirate. Were that the case, MS would have significantly less influence over the market, their paying customers would be less locked in and a lot of those who buy software would be using alternatives too.

MS pretty much owe their existence to piracy... Bill Gates even admitted he would prefer users to run a pirated windows than a competitor.
So do Adobe, if everyone who pirated photoshop used something else then it would have a lot less mindshare.

Re:Helps the platform... (2)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 2 years ago | (#40757135)

Windows succeeded largely because both it and the applications running on it could be pirated.

That and because it came bundled with pretty much every PC made since 1991.

He must have a different understanding of 'open' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756917)

'Open is an ideal, like true democracy, that’s warm and comforting but also impossible in a practical sense. It’s self-limiting. You’re spending today to pay for tomorrow, and we all know how that usually turns out. I want the futuristic, liberal, socialised utopia as much as you do, but I acknowledge that what we actually get is the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Capitalism wins, and it’ll drown you in the process if you stand in the way.'

Where to begin with this iOS apologist?

Lock Down (5, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40756921)

If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down.

Fuck you, control freak asshole. If you want to sell your products then you need to provide a compelling case to your customers. Otherwise, you need to accept that your shit will be pirated and you need to figure out if what you are selling covers your cost. And if you're feeling real insecure, figure out your own security system.

But don't go saying that I need to be treated like the enemy by my own property. My property is mine and will do as I say. You are welcome to have your software on my property, but it isn't going to bow to your demands and fulfill your wishes.

Mat Gemmell is an authoritarian asshole who hates that people are free to do with on their Android devices. I bet he hates PCs with a burning fury and would prefer I have no freedom whatsoever. I bet he's pissed that I can choose not to buy his software. Fuck him.

Re:Lock Down (0, Troll)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#40757155)

Kid, (and you must be to have this attitude), I've met more than one developer who's had his application pirated by the basement kids and/or the Russians, Chinese or Indians. Years of work and investment down the drain in an instant. Instead of $15000 a copy for the engineering application, revenue drops to zero almost overnight as folks overseas bit torrent the cracked version and its attendant viruses.

So, the argument goes, you charged too much. Well, if you weren't such a moron, you'd realize that all markets have a finite size. If your market pool worldwide is 1000 specialized engineering organizations in foreign countries, you have to charge a certain amount to make it worth your while. You can't go down to $10. What's the point?

So yes, to have a viable business, you have to lock it down. The new distribution model is going to have to be difficult-to-pirate streaming apps, like it or not. Don't like it? Well, tough titty said the kitty. Don't use it. It's not skin off my nose. Companies and individuals usually pay up, once they have no choice.

"Open is broken as a money-making platform model" (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#40756925)

Oh Gosh, "Open" is broken as a money-making platform model!

This isn't an attack on Android, it's an attack on anything open-source, anything that gives the user the slightest bit of control or freedom. Yes, we are much better off in a completely locked down ecosystem where we can't even change the default browser, where you had best hope the owners of said ecosystem don't decide to compete with their own app that does a similar thing, or you'll get wiped off the one-and-only app store without a care or an explanation from them.

Yes, I'm blatantly talking about Apple here. However, I don't mean to sound like I'm ragging on iOS, or Apple in general, I'm merely pointing out that the opposite end of the spectrum has its own set of issues as well.

Android does have a piracy problem, but it stems mostly from a single tickbox that allows you to install apps that don't come from Google, the same tickbox that lets you install alternative app stores that don't necessarily have the same limitations or guidelines as the Play Store. If you take away that tickbox, I'm not sure the ecosystem will benefit more than it will be hampered.

Plenty of developers seem to be raking in the money on Android, they just use a different approach than they do on iOS. Instead of "Pay up front and be done with it", it's more "Get it free and supplement with in-app purchases" or "ad supported". Angry birds did the latter, Dead trigger (the one the "Piracy" reference was made about earlier this week) did the former. Their app is getting a lot of press, I will be interested to see just how well they do now.

And Abdroid is gaining popularity why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756929)

If the business model on Android is inherently flawed, then why are so many devices shipping with it and why are there so many great free apps on it?

-- Sent from my Galaxy SII with iOs on it...oops, I meant Android

iOS is equally broken (2)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40756931)

People jailbreak and pirate apps on the iPhone as well. It's not even hard from what the people I know who own an iPhone. I'd say the people buying Androids probably are going for it because it's cheaper, or that their are Options that are cheaper. People want Options when buying a phone because they want to see if their is something closer to their budget. We've seen lots of things showing how iPhone users and Apple Users are more willing to part with their cash. People who are Cheap or are less willing to part with their cash might be more willing to go with a Pirated version before they consider buying it, but that's just me making assumptions. I don't understand the fascination with getting apps on my phone. A few apps are needed to make it useful beyond a phone, but I prefer my PC for PC tasks and my Consoles for my Gaming tasks.

So what he's really saying is... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#40756949)

"wah wah this isn't making me money so it's rubbish and no-one should use it"?

Do I look like I care if app developers (myself included) make money off it? Sod 'em, if they want to make money they should get a job.

make it useful/good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756969)

make the app innovative, useful and a good experience for the users and they will pay you.

develop your own OS then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756999)

Maybe this guy should stop complaining and develop his own mobile OS.
He can close it down as much as he likes and he doesn't even have to deal with any "nerds" as he calls them.
I'm sure it'l take right off and replace android in a matter of weeks.

Let's watch Steam. (And GoG?) (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 2 years ago | (#40757001)

So, the author has a theory, that sales on top of a fundamentally open platform have an inherent problem because the platform itself is "built for piracy".

Android may be open, but Ubuntu Linux is even more open, no? I mean, on Android you've got a bunch of closed-source components, particularly around payment processing and app purchase, right?

It's going to be very interesting to see how Steam fares on Ubuntu. How many developers are going to sell their games for Linux this way? Once things have been out for a while, how will the piracy rates on Linux, Windows, and MacOS (for the same application via the same delivery mechanism) compare to each other?

Also: I wonder what the author thinks of GoG. They seem to be making enough to stay in business, even though one of their selling points is "no DRM, at all, period, ever".

(Frankly, I think the bigger reason Android has more of a piracy problem than iOS has more to do with the number of budget phones on prepaid plans that run Android. Leaving all other issues aside, Android's considerably more likely to be in the hands of a cheapass than iOS is.)

Or maybe (5, Insightful)

funkylovemonkey (1866246) | about 2 years ago | (#40757085)

make apps good enough to pay for? I hear a lot about piracy on cell phones, I don't see a lot of evidence of it. I know a lot of people with android phones, I've never really seen any of them pirate an app, even those who regularly pirate software on their PC or whatever. Why? Because most apps aren't worth pirating. I have a handful of apps that I've paid for because they're valuable and unique enough for me to do so. Most I don't, because most apps are so simple, even if there is a good paid app available there is almost certainly a free app that is just as good. Sure I could pay for a nice alarm clock or twitter manager, but I could also download one of the hundreds that are available for free or are supported by ads. Adding a tirade about "nerds" just makes me think this guy maybe should have taken a few minutes to breath before writing this up. If you want me to take your opinion seriously, how about not insulting me throughout?

Unoriginal thinking (5, Insightful)

sixtyeight (844265) | about 2 years ago | (#40757111)

In addition to a lot of the arguments being made here against Mr. Gemmell's rationale, he's not even thinking creatively about the alternative ways a revenue stream could be generated. Case in point: I just played a Flash game yesterday that shows a video ad while loading. The ad unlocked additional features of the game for that playthrough.

But Mr. Gemmell doesn't consider developing new, innovative possibilities like this. He just wants the cash, and will happily use the "locking down" of other peoples' machines on a widespread basis to achieve this. Where's the "locking down" of the property rights that are supposed to come with buying something, like an Android? If it's my device, why wouldn't I have root? It would be apropos if Mr. Gemmell made enough money to buy a car, only to have it stolen within the first couple of weeks.

Mr. Gemmell makes it sound only right for companies and developers to "protect" their [currently-only-imagined] profits, but it comes at the expense of the property rights of the users. So he argues for further inroads on users' access to their own machines, while attempting to make it seem natural, fair and just.

Re:Unoriginal thinking (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#40757221)

In addition to a lot of the arguments being made here against Mr. Gemmell's rationale, he's not even thinking creatively about the alternative ways a revenue stream could be generated. Case in point: I just played a Flash game yesterday that shows a video ad while loading. The ad unlocked additional features of the game for that playthrough.

But Mr. Gemmell doesn't consider developing new, innovative possibilities like this. He just wants the cash, and will happily use the "locking down" of other peoples' machines on a widespread basis to achieve this. Where's the "locking down" of the property rights that are supposed to come with buying something, like an Android? If it's my device, why wouldn't I have root? It would be apropos if Mr. Gemmell made enough money to buy a car, only to have it stolen within the first couple of weeks.

Mr. Gemmell makes it sound only right for companies and developers to "protect" their [currently-only-imagined] profits, but it comes at the expense of the property rights of the users. So he argues for further inroads on users' access to their own machines, while attempting to make it seem natural, fair and just.

You know something, if too many people want to wine about piracy and then close up Android, hey, I could always go back to using a feature phone. I don't need to have one in order to survive. I could just as easily get on without an iPhone or Android. All I really need is the basic ability to make phone calls and send text messages. I have a computer for games.

Let him sell his stuff (1)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | about 2 years ago | (#40757113)

If he wants to sell his stuff, let him. If others what to give thier stuff away, let them. It is after all, thier stuff to do with what they please. Simple I think. No need for him to get so bothered about it.

This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757119)

Matt Gemmell is one of the biggest idiots in the history of the computing industry! Is he trolling for the Streisand effect, or is he really this stupid? Full story at 11!

Who cares what these 2 idiotic developers think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757123)

Go write apps for windows phone or iphone if you think it'll be better. Then when you're back whining on your blog about those platforms in a year or so maybe you'll come to the realization lots do... Not many people probably give a shit about your app and even less give a shit about your whining about them not giving a shit about your app.

people deserve to suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757129)

"Nerds like to say that people care about choice at that level" - lets just lock up the people and mandate they use one specific thing and perhaps torture them to hand over all their cash. Seems like it's a good idea to take away all their choice, but hey hang on. Authors an arse and no I can't be bothered to read the article; life's too short for morons.

THE AN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40757131)

"He also has some harsh arguments about some of the assumptions and philosophies underpinning THE AN industry built on an open platform."

WTF?

nerds... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40757163)

> Nerds care about choice, and nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think.

Really? And ... exactly how many Android phones were sold last year?

Thassa lotta nerds. Must be breeding like rabbits.

Nerrrrrrrds!!!

Shit! Shit! Shit! (1)

Qubit (100461) | about 2 years ago | (#40757183)

"Nerds like to say that people care about choice at that level. Nerds are wrong. Nerds care about choice, and nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think

Shit! Slashdot is so over!

Childish name calling (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 2 years ago | (#40757251)

I honestly thought he might have a valid point of view worth considering for at least a moment; until I got to the part that went "Nerds nerds nerds nerds nerds."
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