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Stolen Android apps reportedly being sold in BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry App World Stolen Android Apps

One of the biggest problems with launching a new mobile platform just as the current leaders are starting to peak is attracting enough top developers to create an appealing ecosystem. Just ask Microsoft (MSFT). Research In Motion (RIMM) says it is making good progress in that regard and it expects BlackBerry App World to house more than 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps when the new OS launches in the coming months. RIM is hedging its bets though, and its new BlackBerry OS will also support Android apps, providing developers that do not wish to build new apps with an easy way to repackage their current Android applications. The process is so easy, in fact, that some people are reportedly stealing Android applications and publishing them in RIM’s app store without the original authors’ consent.

In a message posted to Reddit on Tuesday, a user warned fellow Android developers that they should monitor BlackBerry App World to ensure that others aren’t stealing their applications and listing them in RIM’s software market. He praised RIM for making the app porting process so simple, but went on to say that the vendor does not “check the origin of the apps” to ensure they’re being listed by the proper publishers.

“I recently had two users email me about certain compatibility problems,” the developer wrote. “They did mention that they were using Playbooks, but I figured they were running some kind of Android ROM on their devices. I asked one of them for his Google account, and he informed me that he only had a BB ID, not a Google account, and that he had downloaded the app from BB App World.”

He continued, “Sure enough, someone had downloaded my app from Google Play, converted the APK and published it for BB using his account, along with half a dozen other Android apps that were obviously not his own. Most of them have since been taken down, but his account remains active, and he still has three apps published that look like they might be from Google Play.”

The developer went on to state that one of his apps that had been repackaged and distributed in BlackBerry App World without his permission was a paid app and it was being sold for three times the price he charges in Google’s (GOOG) app store.

“RIM respects intellectual property. We expect others to do the same,” RIM’s senior public relations and social media manager, Alex Kinsella, said to BGR in a statement delivered via email. “If a developer believes that their copyright or trademark rights are being infringed by third-party content on the BlackBerry App World storefront, the developer can submit a complaint to our IP team and the issue will be reviewed. In the case of copyright or trademark violations, the offending content will be removed immediately.”

Complaints can be submitted to RIM’s IP team through a page on the company’s website.[bgr-post-bug]

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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