Android apps much less profitable than iPhone apps

New research from Yankee Group and Skyhook finds that Apple users download six times more paid apps than do Android users.

App downloads in the U.S. are booming to the tune of 40 apps per user per year, according to Yankee Group’s 2011 US Consumer Survey, but not all platforms are participating equally in the frenzy. Android developers make much less money from paid apps than do Apple iOS developers. A recent survey of 75 Android developers conducted by Skyhook suggests that rampant piracy of Android apps may be the primary culprit.

Findings include:
• Piracy is a problem for Android. Among the Android developers surveyed, 27 percent see piracy as a huge problem and another 26 percent see it as somewhat of a problem.
• Google isn’t helping. Fifty-three percent of developer respondents say Google is too lax in its Android Market policies.
• Piracy hurts developers’ top and bottom lines. About a third of developers say piracy has cost them in excess of $10,000 in revenue. Additionally, 32 percent say it increases their support costs, while another quarter say they see increased server costs due to heavy loads imposed by pirated copies.

“Android apps are living in the Wild West without a sheriff,” said Carl Howe, Yankee Group director of research and author of the report, in a statement “Android Piracy: How Republished Apps Steal Revenue and Increase Costs.” “With five other major mobile OSs competing for consumer dollars, Google can’t afford to simply let pirates kill app developers’ businesses. They need to foster some law and order or developers will flee to other platforms and Android will lose customers.”

Source: Yankee Group

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan Kennelly” for the heads up.]


  1. but Android is OPEN.
    THAT’s what is important.
    I’ve read this on other sites, the OPEN aspect is the most important. So this is all a bunch of worriers. Android doesn’t need to make developers money, Apps are free.

    And if you can’t read sarcasm…well, learn.

    1. iPhone’s web browser is open source, its OS kernel is open source, and you can easily hack it to run all kinds of open source Unix applications. It’s plenty open enough for me. The iPhone is really only closed in areas where it makes sense to be closed (for system security and to prevent piracy), but as open as possible every other area.

    1. A jailbroken phone isn’t a phone running a perfectly sanctioned version of iOS, it’s a hacked phone.
      Pirates with jailbroken phones aren’t pirating Apps from the iTunes Store, either, they’re stolen mostly from places like Cydia.

    2. To pirate apps on iOS you need to jailbreak. Depending on your device and iOS version this can be challenging. It’s not too bad if your willing to spend a few hours looking up the info and maybe downgrading to a earlier, hackable, IOS version. Its not a average consumer process for sure. Android piracy is different.

      First off there is user piracy. To pirate a android app you buy it then backup your device. You then apply for a refund and get your money back. You then restore from your backup. Done. No jailbreaking or rooting required. Second there is developer piracy. A pirate developer will download a popular app, change the name and icon a bit and reupload it to the Android AppStore with their credentials and sell it as their app. Google may remove this pirate app eventually. The process is then repeated. Neither of those options is possible on the iTunes AppStore.

      That’s why it sucks to be a android developer 🙂 Screwed both ways.

  2. It’s the same story on the patent side of things, too. While Apple steps in to help defend its developers against trolls like Lodsys, Google doesn’t seem to care about its developers at all, lending help only to their Android hardware partners.

  3. What stunning findings! So Android, the favorite OS of media-pirating, IP-dissing, entitled freetards, has a problem with piracy? Well, you could just knock me over with a feather! To think that an OS favored by idealists who don’t believe anyone should have to pay for software would have a problem getting their users to pay for software! Why, who could possibly have seen that coming?

    There, was that sarcastic enough?


    1. Why do you think that they’re the same people? And BTW, anyone who thinks they’re being scathingly creative by mashing words with a “-tard” suffix is pretty much one themselves.

  4. “another quarter say they see increased server costs due to heavy loads imposed by pirated copies”

    Umm, if you can tell what apps are pirated, why not just block them?

  5. google pirates code to make Android

    then OEMs take Android and LOCK Google out by running Bidu and Bing

    Android loving app developers CHANT OPEN and then have their apps PIRATED

    Android lovers buy their phones so that they can get FREE pirated Apps and then get a doses of FREE MALWARE…

    Google is asked by consumers to provide support for phones running Bing and pirated software where they make no money…

    A pirate made the OS, pirates make the hardware, pirates provide the apps and malware and pirates buy the phones

    and in the end few make money and few get a great phone experience.

    Android is a loopy bad joke….

  6. Android ‘Porch Monkeys”

    That is the type of overfed woman with a huge family of fatherless kids who sits out on their porch in a rocking chair eating a banana while waiting on the mailman to bring their latest welfare check and food stamps that they feel they are entitled to.

    Her young ins are out stealing, rioting and looting for all they are entitled to.

    It is the Android birthright, no morals, everyone steals.

    1. Be careful with that term, son. In the South of the US, throwing those words around is likely to get you gang-stomped.

      Having said that, I can’t argue with the spot-on analogy.

  7. Of course. The same “rebels” who prefer Android are also “pirates.”. It all fits into their idea of lawless wide open spaces. I only have one word for sucker Android developers…


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