updated 08:00 pm EST, Thu March 8, 2012
Google may pull apps not using Wallet payments
Google is reportedly taking an Apple-like approach and pushing Android developers to use only its own payment system, multiple sources contended Thursday. Developers have told Reuters they were warned that, to stay on the Google Play Store (Android Market), they had no choice but to use Google Wallet for paid apps. Their titles would be pulled if they kept using PayPal or alternatives.
The practice began as far back as August. Google gave one unnamed developer just 30 days to make the change and stay in the store. Other developers, such as Papaya and Zipline Games, have been more forthcoming in confirming the shift to Google Wallet for any in-app purchases.
The move for many will have significantly raised the amount companies have to set aside for the payment provider, giving Google a 30 percent cut. In some cases, developers had chosen alternate systems to save money.
Google hasn't commented, but its approach may reflect an acknowledgement that its previous, unrestricted approach was backfiring. Letting any payment system into its official store was creating an inconsistent approach that was discouraging users. Android is still well-known for a heavy bias towards free apps that may have reflected the long-term effects of the strategy. Apple may have succeeded partly because it insisted on iTunes from the start, making it easy and consistent to pay for apps, Bionic Panda Games' Charles Hudson told reporters.
It would nonetheless contradict Google's own public image. The search firm often stresses the openness of Android and has used criticism of Apple's iTunes-only in-app rules as a foil for its own platform. Its regular in-app system would now be as closed as Apple's, albeit with the trade-off of a better experience. Having consistent payments may be most helpful with the new Play initiative by giving the same payment method for not just apps but books, movies, and music.