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Abrupt App Pulls from Google’s Android Market Cause Controversy

Google has made it clear ever since the launch of the Android market that their model is based on being an open market. Users can rate programs which, hypothetically, will surface the best while letting non-functional or incomplete apps drop below the radar. There’s been controversy on how Google runs the show, including due to the potential security risks of not screening/vetting your market, but the most recent batch of criticism says that Google isn’t open enough. Developers who had their apps dropped abruptly from the Google Android Marketplace are crying foul.

The biggest outcry comes from two highly rated and ranked developers in the Android Market who had all their apps removed without warning. The apps in question were emulators for game consoles such as the PlayStation and the Super Nintendo. For Google, this is certainly not an issue of functionality (the programs worked and were well-rated). Rather, it’s a concern with the legal grey territory presented by emulation software.

The basic laws for emulation state that the emulator programs themselves are technically not illegal. The ROMs (how you actually play games) are legal to own and use only if you already have rights to play the game (i.e., you’ve bought a copy of that title). But the safety of the ambiguous laws has been tenuous at best, and there are numerous examples of Sony, Nintendo, and other game developers ordering a cease and desist for emulation and ROM software, and those orders being held up in court.

Was Google court ordered to drop these apps? Or is Google pre-emptively removing this software to prevent that? If it’s the latter, how much should Google, as an open market platform, make a decision to ban products that fall into a legally tumultuous territory? Whatever your responses, the criticism for the sudden and unexpected drop of many popular apps has been added to a stack of other questions about whether the Google Android system is as open as it claims it is.

[via Wired]


Category SEO
Rob D Young

Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began ...

Abrupt App Pulls from Google’s Android Market Cause Controversy

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