Apple’s Mac Apps Store Causes Anti-Piracy Concerns

Apple’s new Mac App Store went live Thursday as the company had promised about a month ago – and it had a wild welcome online.

In a statement, Friday, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced that the new online store had delivered more than a million downloads in its first day of public availability, and that the store already has more than a thousand titles – both free and paid apps.

However, within hours of the Mac App Store’s debut, a controversy surfaced. Some observers complained that the store’s anti-piracy protections are not rigorous enough to stop pirates.

Several blog sites – including Pastebin and Daring Fireball – discussed techniques that can be used to bypass receipt validation measures on some paid apps.

However, Daring Fireball founder, John Gruber, said on his blog that at least some responsibility for the potential piracy problem falls to developers.

“For apps that follow Apple’s advice on validating App Store receipts, this simple technique will not work. But, alas, it appears that many apps don’t perform any validation whatsoever, or do so incorrectly,” Gruber’s post said.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment regarding the piracy issues.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs first gave a preview of the Mac App Store in October, at the launch of two new MacBook Air computers.

In mid-December, Apple announced that the Mac App Store, an outgrowth of the wildly popular iTunes App Store, would debut on Jan. 6. Although the Mac App Store is part of the so-called “Lion” release of Mac OS X, which isn’t officially due until this summer, Apple decided to open the Mac App Store now rather than wait.

The advent of Apple’s iTunes App Store for mobile devices in 2008 has had a defining affect on application delivery — particularly for small apps that are low-cost or free and downloaded to the user’s mobile device. It’s a model that’s been copied by many in the industry, including Microsoft.

In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, during his Consumer Electronics Show keynote on Wednesday night, said that its own online app store for the newly launched Windows Phone 7, now has 5,500 apps available and that another 100 new applications are posted every 24 hours.

In contrast, Apple’s iTunes App Store currently stocks 300,000 apps and has served up a total of more than seven billion downloads.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

Keep up with security news; Follow eSecurityPlanet on Twitter: @eSecurityP.

Stuart J. Johnston
Stuart J. Johnston
Stuart J. Johnston is an eSecurity Planet and Serverwatch contributor.

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