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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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.

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

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.

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?

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*

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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