If you are in the business of developing mobile apps, you mainly care about making money. And to make money, you have to charge for it, and in-app billing is arguably among the better ways to charge for an app.
The intense battle between not only payment players but also distribution outlets complicates things enormously for app developers. Apple forces you to use iTunes, Google forces you to use Google Wallet, and lately Samsung announced you have to use their billing and advertising API our you will not be in their app store (from their email sent to app publishers):
“According to the policies of Samsung Apps, application registration using 3 Party billing and Ad system will be restricted from March 1st, 2012. (In App Ad (Android Platform) will be restricted from August 1st, 2012.)”
And there are others trying to control what a developer does. Verizon is effectively blocking Google Wallet from their users, being a telco that has interests in their own wallet initiative, Isis. This is now being challenged by a Stanford professor, who has thankfully gotten the ball rolling on this seemingly illegal attempt by Verizon.
Is this just me, or does this artificial forcing of developer choices seem crazy? Are you now to build in separate payments, ad networks and who knows what else into your app depending on which OS you support, which app store you distribute to, and now which mobile operator your end user is on? I thank professor van Schewick to be among the first to try and end this madness, and hope the pursuit of fairness extends beyond operator control attempts to establishing a free market for application components in general. Let the best wallet and best ad network and best whatever win. Don’t kill the market for developers and users by being greedy and try to own the pie. Let’s keep Dilbert style strategies where they belong…
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this post are mine and do not reflect the views of any clients or companies I am currently working for or have worked for.