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Skobbler withdraws from Android Market

Blames lack of growth in paid apps on the open source platform

Skobbler, developer of satnav apps, has withdrawn its GPS Navigation 2 app from the Android Market, blaming issues surrounding piracy, security and profitability.

GPS Navigation 2 will remain available in the iOS App Store but the company said that it had been unable to replicate the success it had in Apple's walled garden on Android devices.

In a statement, Skobbler said that competing against Android's built in satnav app was behind its decision. "It is with some regret that we came to this decision but in order to build on the success of GPS Navigation 2 a strong strategic focus was required and, unfortunately, this meant cutting ties with the Android Market as far as our navigation product is concerned," said Marcus Theilking, co-founder of Skobbler.

"We've seen that the growth in paid apps on Android is significantly lower than that of free alternatives and other issues surrounding security, a wide range of devices and operating system versions and the appeal of free, pre-installed rivals left us in a difficult position."

Skobbler didn't mince its words when referring to Google's "hands-off" way of managing the Android Market. It's statement cites "the difficulties in porting software from iOS, and issues surrounding piracy of paid software" as further problems that led to its decision to withdraw and calls for Google to "revisit its strategy in promoting the development of apps".

It also cites fragmentation of the open source platform and research from Flurry Analytics that showed developers made three to four times as much by selling apps in the iOS App Store as they did in the Android Market.

However, Skobbler said that it was not entirely withdrawing its support for the Android platform, as it will continue to develop apps for third parties. It's focus for the moment will be to "prioritise consumer products for the iOS market", though.

Skobbler last September discontinued its free satnav app for iOS but introduced GPS Navigation 2, which costs £1.49, to replace it.

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