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A New Protest Movement Among Android Developers?

Yan Matusevich
9

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin and now....Android? Apparently, people in the Middle East are not the only ones organizing to protest what they see as oppressive policies. It appears as if a certain group of Android developers are forming a union in an attempt to force Google to change some of their policies for distributing apps. Please read on and give your thoughts and comments on the demands of the Android Developers Union.

 

Although, it is still unclear how many people are working behind the scenes to support this protest movement, the Android Developers Union has already laid out a list of seven demands on their website:

1. Renegotiation of the 32% Google-tax on applications sale: Reduce the tax on every app.
2. Remedy to the Order of Entry Effect:
Change the Most Recent and Top Selling categories to give smaller apps a chance to up the rankings.
3. Public Bug Tracking:
Make the Android Market open-source for developers to be able to fix bugs.
4. Increased Payment Options:
More payment options aside from Google Checkout
5. Codified Rules and a Removal Appeal Process:
Make clear rules about content on Market and allow developers to appeal the removal of their apps.
6. Communication and Engineering Liaison:
More feedback and communication with developers.
7. Algorithmic Transparency:
Open and share the Market algorithms with developers.

Obvsiouly, it difficult to tell at this point how successful the Developers Union will be at attaining their goals, but I bet that these demands resonate with many Android developers. Given the fact that Google takes pride in Android being an open-source software, it should guarantee the same degree of openness and communication with the developer community. The new Android revolutionaries are threatening to boycott the Android Market and distribute their apps through alternative markets. As an AndroidPIT fan, I hope that developers are taking advantage of our Android App Center to market their apps and have an overall better experience. At AndroidPIT we're always open to new ideas and suggestions for improving our App Center and website. I encourage all developers to use our Forum to hash out new ideas and plans. We're trying to build a friendly and open community here at AndroidPIT and I am very understanding of some of the concerns expressed by Android developers with respect to Google's Android Market.

Feel free to give your two cents on the issue in the comments section!


 

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Comments

Write new comment:
  • Georg Wiese Mar 2, 2011 Link

    You are taking the same fee as google does, you make developers pay if they want their app to be tested, I'm sorry, but I don't see how AndroidPIT is a better alternative.

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  • Yan Matusevich Mar 2, 2011 Link

    In terms of the grievances mentioned by the developers union, AndroidPIT does offer more payment options (PayPal & ClickandBuy). Given the fact that AndroidPIT is much smaller in size, there is a much more feedback and communication between developers and the administrators here at AndroidPIT. I also think newer apps have a better chance to make it to the Top Apps category at AndroidPIT because of less competition. Obviously, there's lots of room for improvement, but I think it's always easier to deal with a person-to-person Android community rather than a giant corporation.

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    Alex T. Mar 2, 2011 Link

    I would like to add to that the fact that our App Center works on devices that don't have access to the official market and in countries outside the range of Google's limited Checkout system.

    With tablets becoming more and more attractive to consumers, a lot of them will turn to cheaper tablets or medium-priced ones that aren't endorsed by Google, and we provide a way for them to download and pay for apps they normally wouldn't be able to access.

    We're striving to expand our app catalog to include the most popular apps from the market so anyone can access them and so far, I think we've done a good job at providing both users and developers with what they need.

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  • Harshad Mar 3, 2011 Link

    Google develops the Android platform, so its levy of 30% is atleast partly justified, but why do other markets charge the same levy?

    If AndroidPit takes less than 30% for app sales, it will stand out from the other markets, and attract more developers to it.

    And if developers get charged less, they might reduce the selling price of their app, which would attract more users as well.

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  • Georg Wiese Mar 3, 2011 Link

    @ Harshad: I totally agree with you, I'm not an insider, but reducing the levy to, say 15% or 20% which should still generate an enormous volume, the users, the developers and eventually the platform will win.

    I love Android for its openness, but why does no one take advantage of it?
    Or does anyone know a way to sell apps having less levy? (Sorry, AndroidPIT admins ;) )

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  • Harshad Mar 4, 2011 Link

    Hmm.. no response yet from AndroidPit? Let me give an example to further drive my point. Let's say I as developer want to make 10$ from an app sale.

    With a 30% market levy, I would need to sell my app at ~15$ to make myself 10$. That is, increase the selling price by about 50%!

    If the levy was 10%, I can sell the app at ~11$. The increase in selling price is only about 10% !

    Now, I understand that for apps that are low priced, such as the 1$ apps, a 10% levy might not cover the minimum transaction processing fee. You could charge a higher rate for only that slab.

    @Georg There are a few markets out there that charge less. But AndroidPit seems like the best of the lot to me. The interface is full of features and well polished.

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  • Georg Wiese Mar 6, 2011 Link

    I just uploaded my apps onto Andspot, they only take 20%!

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  • Fabien Roehlinger Mar 6, 2011 Link

    @Harshad, Georg: 20% or less is not feasible. We have payment transaction fees of about 10%. As a company, we need a share as well to cover costs for operations and for further developments. Even now, with 30%, we would need to sell a couple of 100k apps per month to become break-even.

    But would it be an incentive for devs if we grant a, let's say, 5-7% higher payout if developers do marketing for the App Center on their websites?

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  • Georg Wiese Mar 6, 2011 Link

    Sure it would!
    I would be glad to contribute to a more pluralistic Android app market system. I could add a message in the LITE version of my apps that it would be cheaper to buy the PRO version on the App center. Of course, I could also inform about this on my website!

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