To great joy of Apple and its dedicated developer corps, iOS is still far and away the most profitable mobile platform. But why? The answers are simple — Android app piracy and Android malware are out of control and getting worse — though solutions are anything but.
While the iPhone and iOS claim up to half of some markets, like the US and Japan, Android on average owns 80-plus percent of the global smartphone market. According to International Data Corp, the market is concentrating ever more tightly in the hands of a few Android vendors.
One would think, then, that app revenue would be equally concentrated on the Android side of the equation, as well. However, as exemplified by developer ustwo and their smash hit game Monument Valley (iOS, $3.99, Android), app revenue and profit are firmly anchored in iOS.
Why? It’s quite simple, actually, and BusinessInsider lays out the data — only 5 percent of Monument Valley Android installs are legal versus 40 percent for iOS. While app piracy is a big problem on the iPhone, Android app piracy is rule the rather than the exception.
Android App Piracy: It’s Genetic
As shown above, iPhone and iOS deliver over 80 percent of ustwo’s revenues. Further, given the relative homogeneity of the iOS platform, developing for Apple devices costs less, meaning more than 80 percent of ustwo’s profits likely come from the iPhone side.
Additionally, Android app piracy together with Android malware (up 75 percent vs 2013) are the one-two punch that make developing for Google’s mobile platform a toxic hell stew of high costs and low returns. For example, Android users regularly download pirated apps and games, which not only divert both app store and in-app purchase revenue to hackers but also malware (ie ransomware) profits, as well.
Add to this Google’s decision to stop providing security updates for more than 60 percent of its installed base and you’ve got to wonder why developers bother at all. Android app piracy, malware and Google douchebaggery make Android a true toxic hell stew…
What’s your take?