Categories

Wàlt Dìsney loves Android

I went to the link below to look at some of the apps. I clicked Top Free tab and scanned through the featured apps. As Google puts it: “This is a showcase for some of the featured and top ranked applications and games available on Android Market”.

Note the spelling in some of these top downloads:

Wàlt Dìsney
S0uth Pàrk
Famìly Gūy
Sp0ngeb0b
the Sìmpsons
Hellò Kìtty

via Android.com – Market.

It’s Android so it’s open (to copyright violations).

I should note that if these free apps are monetized through Google’s ad network there seems, to my untrained eye, a clear legal liability.

  • Andre

    I don't think that Google is responsible for this kind of copyright violations. Of course if someone detects these violations Google should remove the Apps from the Andriod Market (reminds me of YouTube). We should leave such discussions to lawyers and their peers. I'm a iPhone developer and since years owner of different iMacs and MacBooks but lately this whole bashing of the openness of the Android Market in the Apple scene makes we wonder if the people are just scared of the competition.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      If you are a developer and you develop a hit game, the possibility that an un-curated app store will soon be filled with cloned versions of your app should give you pause.

      • Andre

        Of course. But copy right infringement and cloned versions of my apps are two different stories. And besides this problem exists in the iPhone world too – there are many illegal copies of apps out there. I just say that no matter if it is an open or a closed store there are ways to prevent such problems (or at least to try to prevent them). Personally I like to have an "instance" which checks and validates apps before I install them on my iPhone (e.g. to be sure these apps do what they state) but of course I have to admit that an open store has it's advantages too. And history has shown open markets lead to more innovation than regulated one.

    • FalKirk

      "… this whole bashing of the openness of the Android Market in the Apple scene makes we wonder if the people are just scared of the competition."-Andre

      I think the tendency of Apple patrons to denigrate openness is a natural, but unfortunate, response to the constant attacks on Apple's "closed" architecture by Android fans. A day doesn't go by that I don't see someone write that Apple's is "evil", a "censor", opposed to "freedom" and ultimately "doomed" because they are closed. The problem is that people don't even know what they mean when they use terms like open and closed. They've just become rallying cries.

      In the context of this discussion, perhaps it would be best to replace the words "closed and open" with "monitored and unmonitored" or "regulated and unregulated" or something of that nature.

      • Andre

        Good point, thanks. You are right, there are many people out there criticizing Apple because of their closed/regulated store and I often have heated discussion with them (often they come from the Linux world). That said one both sides (Apple and Android) there are people trying to persuade the world that the other side is evil – without knowing much of the other side.

  • Tom

    To say Google isn't responsible for any violations of copyrights is to say a plastic gun manufacturer has no responsibility for the crimes committed by its customers. This is extreme, I know, but consider: why would someone innovate a weapon undetectable to security and then sell it on the open market? Why would someone set up an open market with no rules of fair play? No one would like playing in a game with no rules or referee. No one would last long in a stock market that was totally unregulated and open. Reality shows us, humans being who we are, open and unregulated markets end up full of cheating and stealing.

    • Andre

      You are right – that's an extreme comparison. But you missed my point: of course there have to be rules. And open markets have rules: we call them laws. And there are referees: such as governments or other regulators. And Google has to obey the law: in this specific case it has to remove the apps (and for the future implement a mechanism to identify such problems as soon as possible). But I can't see that Google tolerates these copy right infringements intentionally – so it's not responsible. These problems are just byproducts of markets – and don't forget that the largest copy right infringements happens in countries like Vietnam, China … clearly not open markets.

  • Tom

    Consider, also, the number of apps in the app stores. Apple has one store. A dev submits an app. Once accepted, it's one more app. 250,00 apps. So far, and counting.
    On the dark side of the planet, a developer prices and uploads an app to android store 1, and then, sometimes, with different prices, uploads the same app to android store 2&3&4&5&6. That's 6 apps added to the android market. I suggest that's app inflation. So, just how Manu unique apps are there represented in that 70,000 number? 40k? 30k? 20k? 5k? Who is checking? Google?

    • Andre

      But that's the problem of the Android developers. They know these problems and have decided to develop apps for the Android Market. Honestly I don't care how many unique apps are in the iStore or in the Android Market: both markets are a vibrant places and both have reached a critical mass.
      You imply that it is so important to know how many unique apps are in the store that we should abandon multiple market places and concentrate on single markets. I don't think so. Of course Apple has an interest to be the only market – because through alternative markets they wouldn't earn money.

      • Pete

        "there are many people out there criticizing Apple because of their closed/regulated store and I often have heated discussion with them (often they come from the Linux world). "

        "And history has shown open markets lead to more innovation than regulated one."

        "Honestly I don’t care how many unique apps are in the iStore or in the Android Market: both markets are a vibrant places and both have reached a critical mass."

        It is really hard to figure out where you are coming from.

        "lately this whole bashing of the openness of the Android Market in the Apple scene makes we wonder if the people are just scared of the competition."

        Who are these people who are afraid of the competition from Android Market? Are you referring to customers, developers, or Apple employees? Who is doing all this bashing? Is Android Market competing with Apple customers?

        What history has shown open markets lead to more innovation than regulated markets? Linux is as open as they come. How can you say it has brought more innovation to the market than Microsoft, or even Apple? How successful is Linux in the consumer market? Why don't companies like Adobe, Microsoft, and others port their applications to Linux? Why are there not more innovative alternatives that would compete with stuff from Microsoft and Adobe?

        Tom is right. Open vs. closed is not the same as regulated vs. free-for-all.

        Apple, is in fact open, in the sense that they support and implement and contribute to open standards. But they also want to foster development for their platforms and have determined that in order to do so, they have to protect their developers' investments as well as their customers' trust. That is why they want to make sure developers don't lose sales to piracy, and that their customers don't get swindled through malicious or deceptive apps.

      • Andre

        @pete
        "It is really hard to figure out where you are coming from."
        I'm just a software developer – currently developing iPhone apps for some clients. And I've the luck to be able to discuss with some guys from the Linux, the Android and the Apple world. Although we don't agree the whole time I think it's inspiring to listen to the different ideas. Probably I'm not an "Apple fanboy" (or an "Android"- , "Ruby"-, "Linux", or whatever fanboy).

        "Who are these people who are afraid of the competition from Android Market? Are you referring to customers, developers, or Apple employees? Who is doing all this bashing? Is Android Market competing with Apple customers?"

        Developers – just my personal experience. They stubbornly try to find problems with Android to show how much better the iPhone is – instead of showing the advantages of the iPhone (and I know Android developers do the same).

        "What history has shown open markets lead to more innovation than regulated markets? Linux is as open as they come. How can you say it has brought more innovation to the market than Microsoft, or even Apple? How successful is Linux in the consumer market? Why don’t companies like Adobe, Microsoft, and others port their applications to Linux? Why are there not more innovative alternatives that would compete with stuff from Microsoft and Adobe?"

        My strongest case is the internet – we would both say that the internet brought a lot of innovation or? And we would both agree that it's open?
        Linux vs the rest: I'm not a linux follower – I don't think Linux is really practical in the consumer market.
        But look at the browser market: Would you say the Internet Explorer is more innovativ than say Firefox? The latter is clearly more open.

        "Tom is right. Open vs. closed is not the same as regulated vs. free-for-all."
        I agree.

        "Apple, is in fact open, in the sense that they support and implement and contribute to open standards. But they also want to foster development for their platforms and have determined that in order to do so, they have to protect their developers’ investments as well as their customers’ trust. That is why they want to make sure developers don’t lose sales to piracy, and that their customers don’t get swindled through malicious or deceptive apps."

        I understand this and the ratio of Apple behind these decisions. I don't demand that Apple should open their market – as I said a 'regulated' market has advantages too. And for the sack of e.g. security some kind of regulation is necessary. Just wanted to state that openness is not bad or evil per se.

  • Tom

    That's many, not Manu. I didn't check.

  • Iphoned

    How can a user trust any app purchased on Android after seeing names like these?

    I remember once traveling in Asia looking at some bargain Italian ties. The labels said "Made in Itary". I left the store quickly.

  • rd

    Thats right Apple people don't like Android people.
    Why is it that Android people can use all kind
    lame arguments and call themselves free and open.
    yet Apple people can't do the same to the Android people.
    especially on a blog dedicated to the Apple universe.
    Why are you coming here to begin with. If we are
    going to lose eventually because you are going to steal and copy
    then why do you need to defend yourself here.

    Talk about lame.

    • Andre

      probably you should read my posts first, then think about it and after that answer. Clearly you omitted the first and the second and started with the reply.

      • Andre

        And to be clear: I don't steal anything. Although I don't know Horace Dediu personally I think he supports active, constructive discussions.

    • Tom

      apple people? they don't exist. Android people? they don't exist either. Some people prefer one product base over another. We can disagree on this without becoming personal. I may attack some things, but i wont attack someone for ones choices. Let's make a careful distinction.

      • RattyUK

        He was being generic Tom. A shortcut if you will. I think you are shooting the messenger rather than the message. Just a comment.

    • Sevket Zaimoglu

      In order to see if indeed this blog isblog dedicated to the Apple universe," I have just checked "What we do" link at the top, which I suppose is the closest thing to a statement regarding the intended audience of the blog, and there was not a single mention of Apple!
      http://www.asymco.com/what-we-do/

  • Tom Ross

    There are a couple of those on the AppStore as well (e.g. Nintendo sound boards). They just don't make it to the top of the charts.

  • Tom

    You gotta love it:
    The ONLY coke app on ANY phone! BANNED from iPhone! Fun, and great for parties! Show your iPhone friends an app they'll never get! * Vial, razor, $100 bill included * Shake to splash blow * Global leaderboard for scoring GREAT gameplay video at link below! Bug? Email us! We don't condone using drugs,cocaine,ecstasy,etc.

  • poru

    Samsung loves Android too; WM7 not so much?:

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg this week. At IFA, YH Lee, head of marketing at Samsung Mobile, told Reuters, "We are prioritizing our Android platform. Android is very open and flexible, and there is a consumer demand for it."

    What about Windows Mobile?

    Samsung will introduce a smartphone running Microsoft's new Windows version later this year. "There is still some professional, specialized demand there," she said.

    Ouch! (as a sidenote, she also that Samsung wasn't going to build any more Symbian phones either).

    The Android strategy has been working so far for the S. Korean conglomerate. Samsung sold a million Galaxy S phones in 19 days before it was even brought to the US, the largest smartphone market on earth. Once here, it sold over a million devices in a month in a half on AT&T and T-Mobile. It launches/launched on Verizon/Sprint this month.

    Other manufacturers are also putting more weight behind the Android line. Another Windows launch partner, Dell (DELL) was rumored to be pulling out of the launch, though Dell say they are still in the Windows game, though it isn't certain at what capacity they will be playing.

    What about Asus, LG and HTC, the other three launch partners for Windows Phone 7 Series? LG and HTC have hearty Android products and even bigger plans. Windows clearly isn't the first priority for these two companies. Even ASUS, who comes from the PC land and switched its entire netbook line to Windows a few years ago, is now building Android mobile devices like the Garmin phone.

    from http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/09/04/is-samsung

    Seems like big news to me if Samsung and others are thinking about ditching or at least downplaying Win Mob 7 in favour of Android…

    • poru

      sorry my BLOCKQUOTE didn’t seem to work out above!

  • Alcatholic

    In thinking about the various app markets, I like to use Daniel Eran Dilger's formulation of functioning markets. Clearly the iOS app store is a functioning software market. Daniel likes to argue that the android market is not a functioning market. I wonder how that can best be judged?

    Developer interest? Developer revenues? Customer demand? Customer satisfaction? Maybe by customer downloads? All of the above?

    • Tom

      Considering the 6 non-porn android market places, does anyone have stats on android app downloads? It's obvious the google approach to developers has provided a warm and fuzzy group hug to the developers. Apple has clearly put the interests of the consumer above the developer.

    • RattyUK

      I still think that the main issue in the Android store is whether or not developers are actually earning money. A couple of weeks back the Interwebs were a twittering with the news that some guy had made 70k over two years with his App killer App for Android (A function which is actually built into Android at some lower level menu – but he was charging 99 cents to effectively wrap that command in an App).

      Everyone was using this as an example of how Android was winning… Meanwhile Tapulous had a camera App banned from the store because it put in a feature that Apple said it would not allow which was to remap the volume buttons to work as a shutter button. In two month that App had cleared $500,000. Clearly $70k in two years is obviously a sign that a mere $500,000 in around eight weeks is obviously on the losing side.

      Developers will go to where the money is. At the moment it is going to Apple.

      Moving forward we will see how things do now that Angry Birds has hit Android. The very nature of the Android store where people prefer the free model should provide the basis of some cold hard facts as to who is making money where over the coming months.

      • Sevket Zaimoglu

        AdMob Mobile Metrics Report May 2010 (http://metrics.admob.com/2010/06/may-2010-mobile-metrics-report/) contains the results of a survey carried out in February 2010 with 963 respondents. On average, the iphone owners downloaded an installed 8.8 apps, of which 1.8 apps were paid, while the respective numbers for android owners were 8.7 and 1.1.

        Then, the next slide states that the percentage of iphone owners who indicated that they purchase 1 or more paid apps per month was 50%, while on the android side this number fell to 21%.

        I would like to remind you that in the android universe February 2010 is like the middle ages, so the situation might have changed considerably. But, my interpretation is that there certainly is a market for paid android apps. The question, then, is this: For someone who is already an app developer for iOS, is it profitable to port the app to android? This depends on the cost of porting and supporting the app versus income from the android market.

        I think in the middle run, we will see most of the top selling iOS apps ported to the android market (as well as possibly other sizable markets), since I assume the apps selling well for the iOS should also perform well in the other markets. If the app's sales are not that high, porting to android and supporting it may not be worthwhile.

      • Sevket Zaimoglu

        Indeed, Angry Birds can be a useful benchmark, but more importantly, I would closely watch WhatsApp when it comes to android. Since it will enable android users to send SMS-like messages to their friends on RIM and iOS through internet, I expect its adoption rate to be very high.

      • Sevket Zaimoglu

        Oops! WhatsApp Beta for android and Nokia S60 already out! And it's not in the marketplace-I have downloaded the app from whatsapp.com/android. No marketplace, no problem, then.

        It is wonderful to be able to point your browser to a URL, then download and install an app without any restriction. Now, that's what I call OPEN!

      • http://www.asymco.com asymco

        Apps for mobile phones have been around for about 6 years before Apple's App store. The ability to buy from various online stores or directly from the developer were available for S60, Windows Mobile and Palm. There were .sis and .cab files and all sorts of communities dedicated to them. You can still go to handango as an independent app seller. See http://www.distimo.com/appstores/ for more info.

        Prior to 2007, no more than 2 percent of users installed apps on any of their devices. The average number of S60 apps on an S60 phone was 0.9 and that was in 2008.

        After Apple's introduction of a curated marketplace and an increase of app consumption by about two orders of magnitude, both Nokia and Microsoft scrambled to build their own. I am unsure of the value of returning to a previous model.

      • Sevket Zaimoglu

        The widespread availability of 3G and faster mobile internet access have only materialized in the past few years, so any comparison with pre-2007 situation does not make sense.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      A market functions when there is (a) competition between sellers (b) a signaling method for competition, usually price.

      The breakdown of markets begins when buyers perceive there is no competition for their business. The problem with a market where products are all free is that there is no way to signal to buyers. The internet, for example, is not a market. Even though sites "sell" information for attention, they have no mechanism to signal, hence it's not really a market in the economic sense.

      The benefit of price as signal and market as a way to organize trade is that it allows for efficient resource allocation. Both buyers and sellers are forced to think carefully about how to spend.

      Apple took an approach with its app market that encouraged pricing and hence resource allocation and hence innovation in app development.

      Android market is dominated by free wares so it's got the same feeling of a trading place but not a market place. This does not mean that it's not a place where users can find value, but it's not a place where resources are easily prioritized.

      We can't tell where this is going to go in the longer term, but the googly way is to commoditize everything and skim revenue from enabling access. Maybe this is disruptive but it's too early to tell.

  • don

    Getting back to the copyright issues. A few months back there was a post somewhere that pointed out that the top 10 items in the entertainment category in the Android store were ringtones obviously ripped from popular songs. To say that copyright is up to the app "author" in the Android store is remarkable. Is there no gatekeeper? And then you have apps whose only purpose is to harvest reviews for other apps. What developer wants to try to make any money in that envrionment?

    • Sevket Zaimoglu

      FYI, I have just checked the android market, accessing it from the UK. The top 10 paid apps in the market are:
      1. Open Home – phone customization
      2. Geocaching – access geocaching.com's DB of geocaches (for offline navigation)
      3. Slingplayer Mobile – control Slingbox devices and stream to phone
      4. Maneki Neko – Tamagochi-like app
      5. Widget Locker – Place Android widgets and shortcuts on lockscreen
      6. Akinator – mindreader
      7. 360 Live – access the MS 360 Live network
      8. Solo – virtual pocket guitar
      9. MP3 Online Premium – search, d/l and stream legal content from SOSO cloud
      10. Jetflicks! TV – stream premium content to phone, subscription model

      Android market only gives download numbers in brackets. The highest downloaded app is Open Home, in 50K-250K range, with 12K ratings. It costs 3.99USD.

      As you see, NONE of the top 10 paid apps are ringtones.

      In the free top 10 list, there are only 2 ringtone apps, but they DO NOT come with pirated ringtones. The first is Zedge, which works for all phone OS'es, including iOS. The second does not offer ringtones from the app dev, it only gives access to ringtones uploaded by registered users. Its comments are full of ringtones disappearing without warning, and I suspect it is due to removal after copyright infringement complaint.

      • don

        Hey don't take my word for it, here's the link to the article I mentioned. If you have a problem, take it up with the blog's author. Check the screenshot for Tunee, an app that lets you download any song out there for free. Again I ask, where's the gatekeeper? Apple would not have allowed this app in its store, it obviously infringes on millions of copyrights.

        http://nanocr.eu/2010/06/27/googles-mismanagement

        And here's what Android developers think about how they're getting screwed in the market, Google seems not to care:

        http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Mar

      • Sevket Zaimoglu

        The article you have linked to talks about "Multimedia" category. Your original post and my reply is concerned with "Entertainment" category. They are not the same.

  • RobDK

    Android = illegal copyright infringement porn loving phishing stealing nerdy criminals.

    IOS = legal safe protected fun honest family values.

    • Sevket Zaimoglu

      Remember the original MSN, "The Microsoft Network" back when Windows 95 was out. It was supposed to "rival" and then "replace" the INTERNET! It was designed as a "walled garden" too. Microsoft (TM) was then pushing the exact same message:

      Internet = illegal copyright infringement porn loving phishing stealing nerdy criminals.

      MSN = legal safe protected fun honest family values.

  • Pingback: PhonePro » Gott om varumärkesintrång på Android Market()

  • Pingback: asymco | Star system vs. flea market: How Apple and Google target talent()

  • Pingback: Disney (still) loves Android | asymco()