Google to Android developers: use our Wallet or get out

It’s no mystery that Google is eagerly trying to monetize on its huge Android userbase numbers, a mobile platform that in these years exploded in numbers of phones sold but didn’t see as much as a profit for Google itself. Now, the company has forced app developers to use its own Wallet payment service, while collecting a slice of any app’s payment with higher margins than the competitors.

The scoop comes from Reuters, which was able to confirm the rumors from the Android apps community by looking at a confidential email sent to developers some months ago. In the email Google urged developers to adapt their apps to use Wallet, or in 30 days they would have been “suspended” from the Android Market, which has since been rebranded as the Google Play Store.

Google explained that the move would have brought higher “conversion rates” per app – i.e. the chance that a customer will go through with a purchase – thanks to reduced confusion at the moment of choosing the preferred payment channel.

Before Wallet became available for Android, app developers were granted the chance to use their preferred payment service – be it Paypal, Zong or others – but that grant was apparently limiting the revenue stream that Google could potentially extract from the platform.

By forcing developers to use Wallet, the search giant is trying to emulate the Apple success story with the iTunes store purchases: here developers were obliged to use the Apple payment service from the start, so the revenues kept flowing to Cupertino while users were happily purchasing stuff with just a single touch on the screen. And compared to Apple, Paypal and others, now Google is even demanding higher cuts for transactions – 30% for any app, game, music or video purchase on Play.

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44 Comments

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Maybe they should be more concerned about all the spam apps they have and shady apps running around in the market. Weed them out, I'm tired of them!

really? google charges devs 30% on sales in their god-awful market? At least google could stop the fragment and make devs only need to develop the app once rather than update it daily to support the new 50 handsets that released.

Looks to be android is starting to get a bit tipsy behind the wheel.. Only takes a second to crash and die. Hopefully android will sober up rather that get more trashed like android's been doing lately.

If I remember correctly google has the ability to shutdown any app on any phone unless it's running a modified OS at any time. They built this in because of the open nature of their platform to thwart people from developers with bad intentions. Not saying they'll do this to force devs to use their service but I believe it is possible.

The other issue not really mentioned here is that 30% is a large amount compared to Apple and Microsoft which I believe only take about 10%. Their google, it's not like they don't have the resources and bandwidth to match their competitors percentage.

jsterling said,
The other issue not really mentioned here is that 30% is a large amount compared to Apple and Microsoft which I believe only take about 10%.

I would check that again a few Google searches state that all three of them take 30% of sales

jsterling said,
The other issue not really mentioned here is that 30% is a large amount compared to Apple and Microsoft which I believe only take about 10%. Their google, it's not like they don't have the resources and bandwidth to match their competitors percentage.

I noticed I was beaten to the punch here, but for reference sake: https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/distribute.html

Clearly states developers get only 70% of the revenue, I find it interesting the actual article states that the percentage is higher than others since this was a 5 second search.

So they work on Microsoft. They blindly do not realize that their wallet works only with western payment systems.

Who cares which system you need to use? What cares is devs to get cash, and you can do it with both PayPal and Google Wallet.

While there's not really a problem with the idea of making people use their payment service, they need to stop presenting this image of being so open when in reality they're not.

Enron said,
While there's not really a problem with the idea of making people use their payment service, they need to stop presenting this image of being so open when in reality they're not.

About one in ten apps I have on my phone didn't come from google play, no one got a say in the matter, Android is the only major platform to offer this awesome freedom.

I may seem a little oblivious today but I see the problem. Ebay is a good example of a service which forces users to use PayPal.

Zeikku said,
I may seem a little oblivious today but I see the problem. Ebay is a good example of a service which forces users to use PayPal.

I don't see the problem*

little by little the empire starts to tighten its grip. hiding behind "open" and "do no evil", they are rotten to the core. oh well it was google. what did you think they were different because they had pacman on their page for a day?

All this "openness" sorta makes it look like they never know what direction to take with the OS. It went from a BlackBerry copy to an iOS copy and to a re-write with 3.0. Almost 4 years after release and Google finally gets around to publishing some design guidelines, they change their store, and now are forcing payment requirements.

It would be fine if they had settled on some of this stuff in the beginning, but it confuses/angers/saddens some people when they go and make all these changes several years into the race.

NPGMBR said,
Google Play Store sounds kinda odd compared to the more grown-up sounding Android Marketplace!

Yeah, if I didn't know better I'd think they picked up one of the cuckoo Microsoft marketing & sales execs.

NPGMBR said,
Google Play Store sounds kinda odd compared to the more grown-up sounding Android Marketplace!

on some markets they still call it Google Play Market

The beauty of Android though is unlike with iOS or WP7+ you don't have to go through the market. Developers have choices such as the Amazon Appstore currently or even posting the apk on the web for download. If Google's Play terms get more and more oppressive then other alternative can also pop up and that fact keeps Google in check. If Apple or MS store terms get oppressive then you have no option but to just quit the platform.

Asmodai said,
The beauty of Android though is unlike with iOS or WP7+ you don't have to go through the market. Developers have choices such as the Amazon Appstore currently or even posting the apk on the web for download. If Google's Play terms get more and more oppressive then other alternative can also pop up and that fact keeps Google in check. If Apple or MS store terms get oppressive then you have no option but to just quit the platform.

Until they decide that only apps from the Marketplace can be loaded because they aren't seeing enough money.

Bertch said,

Until they decide that only apps from the Marketplace can be loaded because they aren't seeing enough money.


They can't do that because Android is open source and so all they really control is access to the market. That's why there are a ton of knock-off devices coming out of Asia that don't have the market and why Barnes and Noble and Amazon could hack up Android for their tablets without Google's permission. Hardware manufacturers can take the source and change it how they want and Google can do nothing but deny them access to the market. If you don't want the market anyway then they can do nothing to you. The only way they can stop you then is by making future releases closed and denying them to hardware companies that don't agree with their terms. Even then if they **** off enough hardware manufacturers they can just fork Android and make a consortium to enhance it going forward without Google.

timster said,
what's next, forcing devs to use gmail

That's a silly post that has nothing to do with Google's Market and their own payment system.

xendrome said,

That's a silly post that has nothing to do with Google's Market and their own payment system.


how exactly, if Google is telling devs to use a Google payment system, why wouldn't they force devs to use their email system too?

timster said,

how exactly, if Google is telling devs to use a Google payment system, why wouldn't they force devs to use their email system too?

Again it's not the same, if someone else wants to explain it to you then they can but I don't have time.

To give you a comparison, it's like saying "what's next, forcing devs to use google for searching"

We can go on all day, the fact is Google's payment system and their market kind of go hand and hand, so it's expected for them to take this avenue.

SPEhosting said,
google are turning into a bunch of dicks

Always have been but had some sweet candy so it didn't taste so bitter. The candy shop is dry.

SPEhosting said,
google are turning into a bunch of dicks

How is this any different then the iTunes store and their app publishing policies?

xendrome said,

How is this any different then the iTunes store and their app publishing policies?

Because Apple did it from the beginning and App Developers knew what they were investing in. This amounts to bait and switch.

ILikeTobacco said,

Because Apple did it from the beginning and App Developers knew what they were investing in. This amounts to bait and switch.

Really? So why were Amazon Kindle, Google Books, etc. apps both "updated" to eliminate their ability to purchase content in-App? Ahh right, Apple changed the rules.

Facebook did similar with Credits. Didn't have to use them, now you do.

xendrome said,

How is this any different then the iTunes store and their app publishing policies?

because google doesn't own android, its open source, google picked it up for free, and are now trying to make money from it.

SPEhosting said,
google are turning into a bunch of dicks

You should have tried dealing with Google Checkout.. ughhh.. i lost about 19 grand in fraud charges to them and there wasn't anything i could do.. would have lost more in lawyer fees taking them to court.. ended up dealing with American Express directly and dealing with charge offs and crap

dvb2000 said,

because google doesn't own android, its open source, google picked it up for free, and are now trying to make money from it.

What's that got to do with them enforcing a default payment method for apps in their store though? You don't buy Android off Google Play Store.

dvb2000 said,

because google doesn't own android, its open source, google picked it up for free, and are now trying to make money from it.

Google bought Android from a startup.

thommcg said,

Really? So why were Amazon Kindle, Google Books, etc. apps both "updated" to eliminate their ability to purchase content in-App? Ahh right, Apple changed the rules.

Facebook did similar with Credits. Didn't have to use them, now you do.

Wasn't talking about the rules specifically. I was talking in context about the environment. If you develop for Apple products, you know that you are going into an environment that is strict and harsh. Google's app store was suppose to be the open, do no evil, savior of a platform, and now it turns out, that is not the case.

spudtrooper said,

You should have tried dealing with Google Checkout.. ughhh.. i lost about 19 grand in fraud charges to them and there wasn't anything i could do.. would have lost more in lawyer fees taking them to court.. ended up dealing with American Express directly and dealing with charge offs and crap

ouch did you get the 19k back? and was it a loss or just never saw the 19k

dvb2000 said,

because google doesn't own android, its open source, google picked it up for free, and are now trying to make money from it.


well, that explain your ignorance!! Android Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google Inc.. Google is trying to make money from their Google market and market is fully owned by google and they have the right to do anything just like apple....

dvb2000 said,

because google doesn't own android, its open source, google picked it up for free, and are now trying to make money from it.

Those fu**ing bas***ds. How dare they make money off a product.