We haven’t talked much about Research In Motion around here lately, because there are only so many times you can laugh at the terrible decisions of and resulting fallout for a company before it starts feeling kind of sad and mean.
That said, some stories are just too cringe-inducing to pass up, like the fact that apparently piracy is a huge problem on BlackBerry, in the sense that pirates are downloading Android apps, converting them to BlackBerry apps, and then selling them as their own.
At the root of the problem is the fact that RIM, eager to get more apps on their platform, have made it really easy to convert Android apps into BAR files for BlackBerry devices. Like, “upload it to a website” easy. Unfortunately, RIM doesn’t seem to realize that there are unethical people out there, as one app developer discussed on Reddit:
I recently had two users email me about certain compatibility problems. 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.
Sure enough, someone had downloaded my app from Google Play, converted the APK and published it for BB using his account… A few days ago I even had someone email me about the paid version, which he claims to have bought from the BB store (for 3 times the price that I’m charging on Play).
To RIM’s credit, it’s pretty obvious that this wasn’t their intent. They’ve been going through their store and nuking any applications that might have been cribbed from someone else’s hard work, and they’ve stated they’ll be taking steps to fix the problem.
Still, with BlackBerry 10 on the horizon, the discovery really couldn’t have been timed worse. Hopefully RIM can turn it around; we’ll find out later this month.