Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Android Marketplace is developer unfriendly

An iPhone app developer recently asked us to enhance DashBook's sales report importing to take advantage of an iTunes sales report feature that shows the country where an app was purchased. Naturally, we obliged. It will be nice to expand our market to the publishers of phone apps, as well as all of the indie music publishers who use iTunes. Developers also need to account for the royalties or splits as they contract out work to various talent. And of course, book sales on the App Store are quite common.

Well, that got my interest up to explore the other app stores. Having used an iPhone for a while now, I believe that Apple's tight grip can kill them. Not allowing a user to choose which apps can continue in the background is absurd. The Android system, on the other hand, is much more open and allows developers to write anything they wish, although publishing pornography is still forbidden.

Thus, the Android is my pick as the best competitor for Apple's iPhone system. So I started to research the Android Marketplace to see if I could find examples of their sales reports. Hmm. I have to pay $25 before I can read details about publishing on the Marketplace? Bizarre. Further research turned up inquiries by developers who are at a loss as to how to account for sales tax on their sales. Do they have to review each individual transaction to determine if U.S. sales tax was charged if the composite transactions report doesn't contain that detail? Wait! The developer is accountable for sales tax? Does Android Marketplace or Google affect the developers' nexus?

Oh, this is pitiful.

Apple's App Store and iTunes Store simplified this for publishers by taking on the role of a reseller, just like the prior online bookstores. If Android Marketplace does not do this, few developers will make the mistake of publishing there more than once.

No comments: