If you want to swim in Google’s pool, you’ve got to play by its rules. Devs may not always like this, but following Google’s policies is the price of admission for getting your app in the Play Store (and enjoying the corresponding increased visibility such placement can afford it). This afternoon we hear about the struggles that Koushik Dutta (of ClockworkMod fame) has been facing as he works with Google to get his own apps in compliance, and the seemingly premature ejection of the very popular ROM Manager app from the Play Store as a result.
Dutta found himself in the hot seat back in November, when Google contacted him to let him know that his Helium app – and specifically, the process by which users could upgrade to the premium edition – was in violation of Google policies. The sticking point was the inclusion of a PayPal option, which side-stepped Google’s own payment system (and the cut Google would take).
Google gave Dutta six weeks to make the changes it required, and he already updated Helium to comply, but ROM Manager continued to offer a PayPal option. Dutta was under the impression that Google’s six-week deadline applied to all his apps, and he still had two weeks to go to bring ROM Manager up to snuff – except Google jumped the gun and removed the free version of the app from the Play Store today.
The whole situation stinks, particularly because it’s hard to know where to place blame. Should Dutta have been aware long ago that what he was doing wasn’t kosher? Arguably. Did Google not follow its own policies when removing ROM Manager without more warning? Possibly. Ultimately, we’ll see ROM Manager return once Dutta resolves things with Google, but that doesn’t make this situation any less messy.