According to Reuters, Google has begun to enforce their policy of using only approved payment systems on their Android platform. A Google spokesman said that their policy has not changed, citing a clause in the Android developers agreement that requires developers who are charging for application and downloads to do so using an authorized payment system. Google did not comment on whether they were taking efforts to enforce this particular clause recently.
The main reason from this report indicates that Google is doing this in an effort to make the payment system more streamlined when purchasing Android software, similar to the iOS platform. The reason that many of these third-party systems are in use is because when developers started selling their products on the Android market, there was no direct Google payment system.
Si Shen, founder and chief executive of Papaya, has been developing social games on the Android platform for more than two years now and had to use PayPal initially. He gave the following statement:
“If we had a choice, the freedom to choose which billing service, then that’s even better. But if we have to follow the rules, we will. I want to maintain a very good relationship with Google. We are very collaborative. It’s very important to the business.”
The current cut that Google is requiring for using their Google Wallet is 30%, which is higher then many third-party solutions. Todd Hooper, chief executive of Zipline Games, said the following of the multiple payment systems:
“On Android it used to be laissez faire – you could use any payment provider you liked. It’s probably naive of developers to think they could keep choosing different payment providers. If purchasing on Android is all over the place, that is worrying.”
Analysis: This is monopolistic behavior, and I’ve said it about Apple and their policies. Now that Google’s following suit, we have to start honestly considering the word monopoly here. This is stifling competition to develop on a particular platform because they’re fixed into one payment system that’s controlled by the company who already made a profit on the sale of the device in question.
Those who are playing nice with Google and making their comments public seem to me they’re more about not losing their position from a business standpoint. The ones I worry about are those companies who aren’t saying anything public and being forced to cut more into their profits because Google wants more profits and control of what they can do with their money. I know I’m not the only one who remembers when Microsoft was labeled as a monopoly in the 1990s. I won’t deny that they didn’t do some shady stuff to hurt competitors, but the likes of Google and Apple are doing it publicly and no one’s doing a damn thing about it.
As much as I agree that we need a unified payment system on our devices to make our shopping experience easier, I do not agree with the idea that the only ones who should have a right to offer such a service is first-party only. I don’t think a trusted payment system, such as PayPal, should be taken out of the mix for authorizing payment systems because a first party is losing profits. Honestly, that mindset pisses me off to the point I know what I won’t be supporting. I’ve done it for the iOS platform, and I’ll do it with the Android platform.
I’m aware that simplicity is important, but at what point do we stop giving one company all the money and start spreading it around a little? The more that’s spread around, the more jobs we have, plain and simple. Without that, we’ll continue to lose jobs to outsourcing because big companies can afford it. I’m not saying one company’s ethics are better then another in this matter (e.g. Microsoft), but at least they’re helping the little guy somewhat by not currently limiting their platform to one proprietary system for payment. This could be changing with the Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 OS, but I don’t honestly see that they will. They thrive on versatility and to cut those developers out would be a major mistake for them, and I believe they know it.