It has been a rollercoaster week for Android. Aside from overtaking iOS and Blackberry in US market share, iPad 2 hype and the influx of malware reports in the Android ecosystem have been racking up. Yesterday, Google trolled through its Android Marketplace to find 21 malicious apps that had over 50,000 downloads.
Now, Google may have some defectors on its hands. An alleged group of Android developers have created the Android Developers Union, which claims its members are “fed up with the conditions of the Android Market. We are tired of being treated like sharecroppers on Google’s digital plantation!” The group has seven demands, including renegotiating Google’s tax on app sales, public bug tracking, and algorithmic transparency, all of which Google has apparently denied.
Unfortunately the group is providing little transparency itself. So far, only one name is associated with the union – Rich – who says he was passed between auto-responses and mild threats when he tried to find out why his app was pulled and he had failed to make any sales. It’s possible his app was just that bad (it was called Rapid Download): Engadget noticed it was “encouraging users to infringe copyrights right in the product description.”
There’s some suspicion that this “union” is really just a one man operation – that one man being Rich. He claims that after his poor treatment within Google, he has invested his time into calling fellow Android developers to jump ship to other platforms unless improvements are made. Whether or not this is an effective movement (and we’re guessing not), it definitely doesn’t make Android look good.
Developers have been increasingly interested in Google’s mobile platform, and it’s been living up to its position as a capable iOS competitor. Either there’s a seedy underbelly to the world of Android app development, or a few burned coders are seeking some well-publicized revenge. It’s worth noting that Google was reportedly “not happy” with Android Marketplace’s performance in 2010, and was on a hiring spree to get as many developers in the door as possible. Still, it seems like if Google had created a sweatshop-app-operation, more developers would be coming out of the woodwork, tying their names to this cause. We’ll keep on an eye on their (or his) progress to see if the movement gains any steam.
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