Chinese pirate site 7659 is exploiting Apple's bulk enterprise licensing tools to distribute free versions of paid App Store applications. Bulk enterprise licensing is supposed to let businesses send in-house apps to employees without dealing with Apple's App Store. It works via a developer provisioning profile, which facilitates "sideloading" of sorts without jailbreaking.
The site is only open to users in China, but that restriction can be circumvented via proxy server. According to VentureBeat, 7659 is full of apps that would otherwise cost money. Those include our best new app last week, Badland, which is usually $3.99, and Final Fantasy V, priced at $15.99 in the App Store. In a statement on its site, Kuaiyong, the company that appears to run 7659, explains its reasoning behind offering the apps:
"First of all, we would like to thank all Apple users around the world and your support for Kuaiyong.
Statistics have shown that a significant amount of Apple users are Chinese based. However, the fact is that in China, a large number of Apple users are not very familiar with the iTunes system and how to effectively manage it.
In order for Chinese Apple fans to download applications securely, Kuaiyong developed its own method of giving users access to thousands of free apps without having to jailbreak their devices. Kuaiyong offers detailed descriptions of apps, free app download trial, IOS device management and visual and audio file backup system. IOS system backup and recovery features will also be released in the very near future.
Our goal has always been about bringing Chinese Apple users with quick, convenient and pleasant IOS experience. Since the introduce of Kuaiyong, the proportion of jailbreak in China has declined dramatically from 60% to around 30%. Kuaiyong will hold on to this goal in the future and we would like to see more support for Apple as well as Kuaiyong."
Kuaiyong's justification for providing pirate apps — that navigating the App Store is difficult for Chinese users — is laughable at best. It would appear that Apple won't have a particularly tough time putting a stop to this, though, as all of the apps are provisioned with the same developer profile. Apple just needs to find a way to cut 7659's profile off. Of course, there's always the chance that the same organization could use another developing profile to achieve the same thing, and it's not clear if Apple is able to remove apps remotely from users' phones. VentureBeat says it asked Apple for comment on the matter "multiple times" without response, but we've also reached out to ask how it plans to deal with 7659.