So how widespread is App Store piracy? Earlier this week, Wired's Brian X. Chen spoke with a number of developers and analysts about the issue, and right now, it looks like piracy is still relatively self-contained. According to Medialets, a mobile analytics and advertising company, approximately 5,000 of the 25,000 paid apps in the App Store have been cracked. The company also reports that some programs have as high as a 100-1 pirate-pay ratio -- dramatic, but not necessarily catastrophic.
It isn't all doom and gloom, however. As the Wired piece points out, some developers see the level of piracy as completely inconsequential. Others, like BeeJive have had to fight back against cracking, but have also used it as an indicator that the price of an app needs to decrease.
I take issue with Chen's citation of a 2008 Business Software Alliance study that claimed that the economic impact of software piracy is in the tens of billions of dollars each year. While software piracy undoubtedly has an economic impact, the figures that the BSA claims are just insane. Each pirated copy of a piece of software does not necessarily equal a lost sale and while software piracy, in any form, is certainly bad for the overall software ecosystem, distorting the truth doesn't help the situation.
Our own Michael Rose talked about App Store piracy with the CEO from Medialets on TechVi this morning and the conversation is pretty interesting.
Of course, the crackers may end up bringing themselves down, which is kind of cute.
[hat-tip Apple 2.0]