Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Do programmers need a union?

I have come across this website that is a trade union for Android Developers

http://www.andevuni.org/

I was inspired to search for a trade union after this post Should developers accept overtime/weekend work/denied bonus payments? which was featured on Hacker News

How effective could a trade union be to improve working conditions for Software Developers, more precisly, Android developers? I am an Android developer myself, and I am planning to release my app in a month or so. Could this petition by the trade union be effective at renegotiating the 32% Google tax on Android apps? If yes, should I wait with releasing my app?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Péter Török, Mark Trapp Aug 19 '11 at 17:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

7 Answers 7

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I believe this applies only if you want to use Android Market. There are some other competing app stores for Android if you're dissatisfied with conditions Google offers, or you could always go for your own distribution as .apk.

There are also schemes of bypassing Market transactions altogether. You release a "free" version of your app that can redirect an interested customer to your independent "purchase" site, which will sell a code that would upgrade the app, circumventing the Market.

I'm not sure how this relates to Market policies but I'm pretty sure I saw "free" apps that included "purchase key, enter key" options that would unlock the full version.

share|improve this answer
1  
And then you get sued my Lodsys :-P –  Federico Culloca Aug 19 '11 at 9:26
2  
If you sell it in states... If you're in EU, they can only whine. –  Coder Aug 19 '11 at 9:56
    
That's indeed the clever way. Lastpass works like this. Their app is free, but it only works for 14 days. After that you have to have a "premium" subscription on their site (1$/month). –  fretje Aug 19 '11 at 18:25

Negotiate all you want, but Google's got the power, and it's not like they're taking advantage of you.

You think 32% is too high for processing credit card information, storing that securely and redundantly, allowing you to post your applications to their market and infrastructure, and with their dev platform?

CC fees alone could be close to or greater than that if you were selling your app freelance.

Edit: For those that don't think CC fees can reach that freelance, consider this scenario:

Paypal's fee structure is 2.9% + $0.30 USD. If your app costs $1 (many do), then Paypal is going to effectively charge you exactly 32 cents on the dollar, which is exactly the same amount of money Google is charging for hosting, CC transactions, etc.

Other merchants and gateways also charge a non-trivial monthly fee and a setup fee, which can often be prohibitive for someone just starting out.

So yeah, that 32% is beans unless you're a power player in the market. You're SAVING money going with Google, unless your app is very expensive or very popular.

share|improve this answer
    
Errm... 32% is insanely huge for CC fees (if nothing goes to the carrier)! PayPal charge somewhere between 1 and 4% depending on your level of trade. –  fretje Aug 19 '11 at 13:27
    
@fretje - PayPal have a dev platform, a market place and infrastructure? It's not just CC fees. –  Jon Hopkins Aug 19 '11 at 14:51
    
@Jon: indeed, but Jordan was saying "CC fees alone could be close to or greater than that if you were selling your app freelance" which is simply not true. Also: Google created Android for free, which is a bigger cost than creating and supporting the market place alone. If they are serious about their openness, they should also give that market place for free, or at least for much less than the competition. They are leveraging the whole platform enough already for their ad revenue! –  fretje Aug 19 '11 at 15:02
3  
"Google created Android for free, which is a bigger cost than creating and supporting the market place alone. If they are serious about their openness, they should also give that market place for free" Hem...Android is an investiment they made so they can generate recurring revenues using the market place. I'm not sure having BOTH the platform and the market place free would make good business sense. It's not about openess. –  Jonathan Merlet Aug 19 '11 at 15:08
1  
@fretje: Maybe you're not thinking through the full cost of a credit card transaction. Paypal, and most other merchant-gateways, charge you something like $.30 + ~3% transaction fee. If your app costs $1, the CC company is taking exactly $.33 with that fee structure. Basic arithmetic shows us that under that circumstance, it's approximately the same cost as putting your app on the Android Market, except that you get all the extra benefits that Google's tossing in there too. –  Jordan Aug 19 '11 at 16:35

As in all other negotiations everything is possible if you have leverage. Unless this union signs the big names then it is doomed to failure.

Now lets take a look at the demands itself:

  • Renegotiation of the 32% Google-tax on applications sales:

So you offer google to lose money in exchange for what? Unless you could cause google a lot of pain or show that this can increase total revenue very unlikely to happen.

  • Remedy to the Order of Entry Effect

This is core modification of a way the market works. And from a customer view it will not improve my experience. If I search for something, having something mature and tested on top is nice. This is the way current search engines work.

Better solution - try to improve the promotion of new products outside of market.

  • Public Bug Tracking

And every app submitted to the market will also be public right?

  • Increased Payment Options

Once again G loses revenue in exchange for ?

  • Codified Rules and a Removal Appeal Process

This is reasonable demand. Having such a process will benefit customers at the end - the less developers are worried about this stuff the more they will be able to create applications. Plausible.

  • Communication and Engineering Liaison

This is also good idea. If it leads to faster improvement of marker everybody wins.

  • Algorithmic Transparency

This can be translated as "Please let me game the system". Very unlikely.

So concentrate on points 5 and 6 for the time being. And if android developer really unite, wouldn't it be a better solution to create a distribution platform that really suits your needs? Now competitive and aggressive platform loved by the customers and developers can just about give you the leverage you need .

share|improve this answer
1  
I don't see how increased payment options would lose revenue for Google... On the contrary, some people don't buy now because their preferred method of payment isn't supported... So supporting more payment options would only increase their revenue! I know they have to invest some development time to support this, but for a company the size and developer capacity of Google, I can't believe this can be categorized as a "loss of revenue". –  fretje Aug 19 '11 at 13:08

Mainly I don't think trade union is the correct terminology for what you want. What you want is some sort of an oligopoly forcing trading conditions on one of your business partners, in short, your transport store. I believe this is illegal as it happens.

Trade unions represent employees. If you're a freelancer trying to sell a product through a market place, you're not an employee. You're probably looking at some sort of professional body at best.

I'd add, by the way, that compared to some of the stock photography agencies where the split is somewhere between 40-60 and 60-40, 32% cut looks quite attractive, particularly given the reach of the various mobile application marketplaces.

share|improve this answer

How effective could a trade union be to improve working conditions for Software Developers, more precisly, Android developers?

Well for one...it could actually be a union and not just a website that gives you an email to send to google. For one, I would just ignore the email because a.) who is to say it is from a real person and b.) you've already showed you aren't really willing to do anything about it.

I am an Android developer myself, and I am planning to release my app in a month or so. Could this petition by the trade union be effective at renegotiating the 32% Google tax on Android apps? If yes, should I wait with releasing my app?

If you don't like the terms...why are you creating an Android app? To me that doesn't make sense. Nobody is forcing you to do it, so why do something that you obviously have issues with?

Like I said before, that isn't a trade union. There is no membership (it just looks like a form you fill out and then it sends Google an email) and with no official membership there are no dues and with no dues there is no way that collective action could truly work because as long as you need the money that you get from work, you won't be able to strike as there is no pot that can give you at least a fraction of a salary. Even if it was a union and you were able to change Google, you'd still have to pay the dues which would bring you pretty close to where you are now. Bottom line, you don't like Google's terms, that's fine, don't develop for Android. If enough people stop developing on Android, then eventually they will have to change their terms or they'll start losing market share because of lack of apps.


Edit

@fretje brought up a great point as well...you don't need to distribute you're app on Google Android Market, there are other options. If you don't like Android Market then find a different place to sell/distribute your app.

share|improve this answer
1  
You don't have to stop developing on Android, only stop distributing your app using the Google Android Market. There are alternatives. –  fretje Aug 19 '11 at 14:48
    
@fretje - very good point! In fact I'll edit my post to reflect that. –  Jetti Aug 19 '11 at 14:53

Unions usually negotiate with employers or groups of employers. You're an independent developer hoping to sell Android apps through Google's market, not a Google employee. You can work as quickly or as slowly as you like, you'll never be subject to a performance review by a Google manager, your working conditions are determined entirely by you, and you can even pay yourself as much or as little as you like subject to the limitations of your income. Finally, if you don't like the terms of Google's developer agreement, you're free to walk away at any time. The only thing to negotiate over is the percentage that Google takes for distributing your app.

The deal Google offers you is about the same as what the other major players would give you, and it's a lot better than the deal you'd get in most other author/publisher or supplier/distributor relationships.

share|improve this answer

I hate that everything you have to do, goes through Google - mail, contacts, calendar, GPS. It's a privacy nightmare. I use Google for many things, but this is going too far. Basically, they can now track how often you visit lavatories with all the GPS and syncing.

I think that Google is a great company, bet there has to be a sane limit on private information flow, Androids are crossing it, IMHO.

I have my phone installed without Gmail account and with all privacy options set to "don't allow". And the biggest problem is downloading software, no-one bothers supplying their APKs, and that stinks.

  • Skype - nope (redirect to app market);
  • Firefox - nope (redirect to app market) (well, you can find one one their ftp server, if you really dig);
  • Opera - nope (redirect to app market);
  • Others - (redirect to app market)

The only place I could find some APK's that was trustworthy was Sourceforge.

Get an SSL certificate for your server and keep the APK downloadable, please! Otherwise there is no way someone without Google account can get your app at all!

share|improve this answer
    
-1, This is a rant against Android/Google and doesn't address the question at all. –  Mike Cellini Aug 19 '11 at 15:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.