BlackBerry App World says it peddles pirated Android apps


Of course, pirated applications can be found on the web on sites like appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com, but you wouldn’t expect to find them in legitimate app stores, such as BlackBerry App World. But, indeed, it would.

And, to make matters worse, the allegedly stolen apps found in the store and packaged as BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10 apps are actually Android apps, according to a developer who posted his woes on Reddit today.

Two users recently emailed me regarding some compatibility issues. They mentioned they use Playbooks, but I thought 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 has a BB ID, not a Google account, and he downloaded the app from BB App World.

Sure enough, someone had downloaded my app from Google Play, converted the APK, and published it for BB using their account, along with half a dozen other Android apps that obviously weren’t theirs. Most of them have since been deleted, but his account remains active and he still has three published apps that appear to be from Google Play.

According to this developer, converting Android apps for BlackBerry smartphones is quite simple. This makes sense given that the new BlackBerry OS is supposed to support Android apps. Apparently, there is an online tool that easily repackages Android apps for BlackBerry. The only problem is that a hacker can then simply sell the app as his own.

Research In Motion, parent company of BlackBerry published the final version of its BlackBerry 10 OS software for developers to start writing apps in December. The release included the final toolset and APIs for software makers to start coding for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphone, which is scheduled release January 30.

A RIM spokesperson told CNET that the company will not tolerate app pirates or imitators and will investigate all copyright claims and seek solutions to the problem.

“RIM respects intellectual property. We expect others to do the same,” the company’s spokesperson told CNET. “If a developer believes that their copyright or trademark rights are being violated by third-party content on the BlackBerry App World storefront, the developer can file a complaint with our IP team and the issue will be investigated. In case of right of copyright or trademark violations, the offensive content will be removed immediately.”

Updated at 8:40 p.m. PT with commentary from RIM spokesperson.


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