Android Marketplace accepts money in only 13 of 46 markets

I’ve mentioned in passing at least once that developers will stick with iPhone for the money. Like it or not, there’s too much money floating around the iPhone for developers to ignore, and Android is still playing catch-up on this front. Even knowing that, I was baffled to read on Pingdom just how much they need to catch-up.

In their entry discussing why Android developers aren’t making money (or in their more dire terms, losing money), Pingdom notes that the Android Market offers paid apps in only 13 of 46 countries where Android phones are available. No matter how you look at it, that’s a terrible number. A) Unless you’re counting donuts, 13 is not a lot. B) It’s less than 30% of the total where the phones are available. C) It’s a lot fewer than the 90 countries where iPhone users can buy apps. D) 13 is bad luck.

Pingdom goes on to explain that Android users in the other 33 countries (one of which is Sweden, where Pingdom is located) who want to use paid apps have no choice but to use pirated versions, a practice that could continue even after the marketplace offers them paid apps, or root their device and spoof their location, which can create a whole other set of headaches. The longer this practice continues, the greater the chance it will become permanent. Even worse, the more pirated apps are out there, the more they will cut into markets where paid versions are available.

It’s similar to the problem music companies faced when they refused to embrace online music and allowed pirated music to flourish instead. Music companies tried to fight this after the fact by implementing DRM, and we know how that ultimately worked out. Google’s plan to fight piracy with DRM will face the same fate unless they get paid apps into more markets. Piracy is a symptom; lack of access to paid apps is the cause. To fight that, Google must expand the reach of their paid market before bad habits take hold of consumers. Android has iPhone beat on the free and open front, but developers still need to pay the bills.

4 Comments

  1. grwisher

    08/17/2010 at 1:21 pm

    Right now Google pays Android developers about 2% of what Apple pays iOS developers.
    You seem to believe that Google should/would care about this. I doubt that is the case. Google is desperately trying to augment its one trick pony revenue source which is revenue from search and is not concerned about such matters. Google also believes in free apps and probably believes that all apps should be free. Therefore, IMHO Google could care less about these developers.

    Reply

    • Sumocat

      08/17/2010 at 1:58 pm

      “Should” and “would” are two separate issues. I don’t know if they do or don’t care and I’m not making a judgment on that. But if they want their platform to compete, they certainly should care.

      Reply

      • grwisher

        08/17/2010 at 2:56 pm

        1) Google would care about this:
        I personally don’t think they care about this. Again, their everything should be free attitude is showing.

        2) Google should care about this.
        Absolutely they should care about this in order to compete in the long term, but I think their focus is on their profits and not anyone else.
        See:
        Android’s Pursuit of the Biggest Losers
        http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-losers/
        which shows how much profit the Android handset makers are making.

        Reply

  2. kyith

    08/17/2010 at 4:37 pm

    this is probably one of the reasons not many have the incentive to develop for android. money just not enough.

    http://www.productiveorganizer.com/android-productivity/android-paid-apps-not-available-in-many-countries-reason-people-turn-to-piracy/

    Reply

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