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Jailbreaking the iPhone is cool, piracy is not!

I can think of a LOT of good reasons to jailbreak an iPhone, but there's one reason to jailbreak that's not cool at all, and that's to pirate apps from the Apple App Store.

I can think of a LOT of good reasons to jailbreak an iPhone, but there's one reason to jailbreak that's not cool at all, and that's to pirate apps from the Apple App Store.

Note: Jailbreaking refers to carrying out a process that allows the iPhone (and iPod touch) to install and run applications not signed by Apple.

It's hard to get a handle on how widespread App Store piracy is. On the one hand Apple is claiming that the App Store is a huge success, with over 2 billion downloads. Apple also boasts of 50 million iPhone and iPod touch owners, 85,000 applications in the App Store, and 125,000 registered iPhone developers.

For Apple, things seem rosy.

But developers aren't so happy. Take the developers behind the popular IM client, Beejive. They claim that a whopping 80% of Beejive users are running pirated software. And these users aren't just stealing the software, they are leaching off Beejive's servers too - that's stealing food off the developer's table.

For developers, things aren't all that rosy.

It gets worse for developers. It's very, very easy to find and download zip files packed with cracked App Store apps. You can, literally, fill an iPhone with pirated software. For the developers concerned who have invested time and money into making apps, this must be depressing.

Note: Don't ask me for information about any dodgy downloads ...

So, what can Apple do? Well, they can make the iPhone tougher to crack. The latest batch of iPhone 3GS handsets are resistant to jailbreaking ... for now at any rate. But Apple is playing a cat and mouse game with hackers, and so far it's hard to see Apple coming up with a hack-proof solution (they haven't managed it so far at any rate). And even if Apple did come up with such a thing, unless it makes the new firmware mandatory, people can still stick with the old, hacked firmware (as they do now).

If the 80% piracy rate figures are even close to accurate, Apple needs to do more, a lot more, to protect developers.

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