There are two major mobile app stores at the moment (sorry Windows, you’ll have to grow some more to play with the big boys). But, what happened last week made us wonder wheather there are, actually, two types of app stores.
What’s the story?
First we learned that someone simply took our iOS hit app, Photo Stats, all its features, design and texts and published it under their name as a paid app InFoto on Google Play.
At the same time, on the other store, our new app was rejected by Apple for a minor inaccuracy in submission procedure (not the app itself) and we had to resubmit it and reschedule all launch activities.
Why does it matter?
Photo Stats app was featured as App of the Week, Staff Favorite and New and Noteworthy app on Apple App Store and some ’wise guy’ simply stole all our work and is now making profits out of it. Wouldn’t you be as upset as we are now?
It’s not a simple clone app anymore – it’s a plain theft, as far as we see it. And the screenshots above make this case an obvious one.
To make it even worse, we have considered releasing the app for Android devices, but now this crappy (judging by reviews on Google Play it doesn’t even work as advertised) ripoff has completely killed any chance of making an impact as we did on App Store, causing loss of potential profits and possible reputation damage as well.
Who is to blame?
Of course, the development company is the thief here, that’s obvious. There are, and always will be those who want to make easy money by stealing other people’s work and selling it as their own.
But, it’s even more important to ask:
- Who let them do it?
- Does the ecosystem allow (or even promote) this kind of behaviour?
- And, finally what will happen when they get caught? Will they get away with it and continue doing what they have been doing?
It seems that Google’s app submission procedures not only allow, but also promote this kind of behaviour. If that is true, we really do have two types of app stores:
- one that is so closed that your app may be rejected for even the slightest incoherence to policies, and
- the other that is too open that it better resembles wild wild west than the organized application ecosystem.
What to do?
We have submitted a request Google to have the app removed. And we have also asked for feedback of what has been done with the developer in question because we want to see whether we can expect more apps like this appearing in the future from the same guys.
We are waiting for the answer and we’ll share what happened, either as an update or a new blog post.
There are so many great things about being a mobile developer. And we love them all. This situation is not one of them, and we hope that the mobile ecosystem will have as few situations like this one as possible.
Therefore, our final word to Google is:
Dear Mr. Google, the only way to push the mobile ecosystem forward is to be original and create amazing new experiences. We believe that’s what you want, too. So please, don’t let them steal from us and get away with it.
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