Jay Freeman (aka Saurik), developer of Cydia, the application management/installation package for jailbreak apps has announced plans to launch a paid app store called Cydia Store for jailbreak apps to directly compete with Apple's highly successful App Store.
I was a little intrigued when Cydia was one of the names among heavyweights like Mozilla and Skype who had added their support behind EFF's push to get the U.S. Copyright Office to grant DMCA exception so users can jailbreak their iPhone without fear of copyright infringement penalties.
However, Freeman's announcement puts things into perspective. He believes that the commercial launch of Cydia Store will help the case against Apple.
If you have jailbroken your iPhone, you would probably know about Cydia as it allows you to install jailbreak apps on your hacked iPhone. Jay Freeman (Saurik), developer of Cydia has also developed popular iPhone apps such as Cycorder and Veency for the jailbroken iPhone.
Freeman plans to convert Cydia from a package repository to full-fledged app store with integrated payment system. Based on his Twitter updates,
Cydia Store will accept payments via Amazon Payments and add Paypal
support sometime next week. Freeman does not plan to charge more than
the 30% commission that Apple charges developers.
As per WSJ, Freeman decided to open Cydia Store so developers like himself have a way to make money from their efforts. Freeman says: "The overworking goal is to provide choice. It's understandable that [Apple] wants to control things, but it has been very limiting for developers and users."
Brokerage firm Piper Jaffray estimates that Apple generated about $150
million in sales last year from the App Store and projects total sales will grow to $800
million this year.
Though App Store might not make a significant contribution to Apple's revenues in relative terms, its of strategic importance to Apple as it ties users to the iPhone. So it will interesting to see how Apple reacts to the launch of Cydia Store. Apple had recently told the U.S. Copyright Office that it believes jailbreaking an iPhone is violation of the DMCA and infringes on its copyright. Apple had also informed the Copyright Office that the exception request by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was unacceptable as the very act of jailbreaking the iPhone results in copyright infringement.
Aaron Perzanowski, professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law who specializes in digital copyright law believes that developers of jailbreak apps have "a pretty good" defense under the DMCA if Apple claims what they're doing is illegal.
WSJ reports that Freeman, who has been on the lookout daily for email from Apple lawyers, isn't taking any chances and has lined up a lawyer in case Apple takes legal action.
Cydia Store is not the only unofficial App Store to be launched to rival Apple's App Store. A small startup plans to launch an App Store called "Rock Your Phone" for iPhone users who have not yet modified their iPhone to make it easier to download and buy unauthorized applications. Some folks are also developing an App store that specializes in selling adult games for the iPhone.
Freeman is expected to launch the Cydia Store today.
Freeman has just released the new version of Cydia which
includes the Cydia Store feature (both the client and website have been upgraded to support payment processing). As of now only one jailbreak app called Cyntact is available for purchase on the Cydia Store. Freeman plans to add more packages and Paypal support soon.
He has provided the following info via Twitter:
- Direct credit card processing in the future.
- The purchase is tied to your Cydia account on the server, so even if you buy a new iPhone you will be able to install it on your new device.
- Cyntact is DRM-free. Freeman plans to work with the existing commercial applications to handle their current DRM.
iPhone Hacks reader, Marcus, who bought Cyntact writes:
pretty cool allows you to put a picture next to your contacts so if you
gave your contacts a picture then that will show up next to their name
on your contacts list"
Folks at Modmyi have published a post describing their experience buying their first app on Cydia Store, follow this link for more details.
Thanks Marcus for the tip and feedback!!!
I will keep you posted on this developing story so stay tuned here at iPhone Hacks.
What do you think about Freeman's plans to launch the Cydia Store?