Did Google pull app for in-app purchase violation?

Developer accuses Google of removing app from Android Market because it didn't use Google Checkout for in-app purchases. "Worse than Apple," developer says.

It seems that in-app purchase problems are starting to affect Google too. Reports surfaced Thursday that the company removed an app over a violation of "payment rules."

Google

Earlier this week, Google notified one of its developers that the developers' free app, Visual VoiceMail, was being pulled from the Android Market. The reason given was that the app violated a section of Google's developer agreement that covers pricing and payments, according to a report on GigaOM.

While Google hasn't been clear about the exact violation, Jonathan Hollander of PhoneFusion, makers of Visual VoiceMail, believes the problem is that the app doesn't use Google Checkout for in-app purchases. Instead, PhoneFusion runs in-app purchases through its Web site.

Google's developer agreement states that "all fees received by Developers for Products distributed via the Market must be processed by the Market's Payment Processor." In other words, developers must use Google Checkout.

"It looks like they're pulling an Apple but just for us," GigaOM quoted Hollander as saying. "There was no warning that they're going to enforce this, which makes it worse than Apple. Even if you disagree with Apple, they gave until June to remove their apps. Here, there's no choice."

Google responded to GigaOM but would say only that it removes apps that violate its terms of service.

Apple's new subscription service drew the ire of magazine and newspaper publishers when it was announced on February 15 .

Publishers don't like the fact that Apple is taking a 30 percent cut of revenue on customers it brings to publishers and that the company is not sharing customer information with them. Apple is giving consumers the option to share information with publishers, instead of forcing the issue.

Just days after Apple's service was announced, rumors of an FTC investigation into the service began popping up, but a probe may have to be expanded if Google is found to be doing something similar.

About the author

Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.

 

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