Google Getting Strict With Android Market, Pulls VoiceMail App For In-App Payment Issues

Google is flexing its muscles with the Android Market as it just pulled one of its most popular and long standing apps, Visual VoiceMail, citing violations of the Developer Content Policy. PhoneFusion, the company behind the app, says the suspension came without warning after more than two years of being on the market and even being a featured app at one time. The company believes that their app, which has been downloaded one million times, may have been targeted for not processing in-app payments via Google Checkout.

When PhoneFusion contacted Google about the suspension, the Android Team replied with an email stating that the company had violated section 3.3 of the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement involving pricing and payments. The sections states: "If you want to collect fees after the free trial expires, you must collect all fees for the full version of the Product through the Payment Processor on the Market. In this Agreement, "free" means there are no charges or fees of any kind for use of the Product. All fees received by Developers for Products distributed via the Market must be processed by the Market's Payment Processor."

"It looks like they're pulling an Apple but just for us," said Jonathan Hollander, EVP of PhoneFusion. "There was no warning that they're going to enforce this, which make it worse than Apple. Even if you disagree with Apple, they gave until June to remove their apps. Here, there's no choice."

The Visual Voicemail app is a free app that generates revenue from premium add-on features purchased through their own website much like how Amazon links to its own site for Kindle purchases. Hollander believes that Visual Voicemail may have been singled out because it directly competes with Google's Android voicemail system as well as Google Voice. The company says that Google did not give them any other options to rectify the situation except to re-upload a new app. But by doing this, the company would lose its Visual Voicemail name and all previous ratings and comments in the Android Market.

[via Android Community]