Update: The picture comes straight from the Union's website and is a bit incendiary. Perhaps they don't realize that it could be offensive, or perhaps this is the face of their perspective. We shall have to wait and see.
[Update 2 to yesterday's story below:] After doing some more digging Engadget found out a bit more of the whole story regarding the Android Developer's Union and their grievances with Google. Here's what they had to say,This sheds a brighter light on the subject, and although it doesn't excuse Google's shoddy customer support and communication with developers, it still makes it hard to justify creating a 'Union' if you can call it that. Perhaps these guys should have done a 'fact-check' on their own ethics before calling out Google...If you look at the legacy Market posting for Rapid Download on AndroLib, we can immediately spot at least one thing that's wrong here -- the guy is encouraging users to infringe copyrights right in the product description. Whoops! Sure, Google should be more proactive in letting developers know where they went wrong... but if you don't see the problem in this, you probably have no business being a professional developer -- at least, not one that's claiming ethics on their side.
A group of inflamed Android developers have formed an alliance against Google for what they see as serious grievances related to lack of support from Google, unfair take-down practices, overcharging, and more. Their intention is to pressure Google to improve the Market and their support of developers. They have formed the Android Developers Union and have created a blog.
One of the specific arguments they are making includes an anecdote from a disgruntled developer named Rich, who has developed 18 different Android apps for the last two years, including Port Scandroid and aBTC, the Android BitTorrent client, and the official ‘This American Life’ application.
In reference to one of his latest apps, 'Rapid Download', he claims, "Without any warning or notification, the application was removed. I only noticed when I went to check my sales and noticed I had not made any money for the previous week and a half." He attempted to contact Google through their normal procedures, but only received auto responses without any helpful information. Eventually, all he received from them was a letter threatening that [his] account would be deactivated and all of [his] applications would be removed from the Market if he violated the rules again. He still had not received any info or spoken with anyone as to how he violated the rules to begin with.
Ultimately he felt, "This kind of treatment is unacceptable. Since I began developing Android applications two years ago, Google has collected over $14,000 in “service fees” as part of their 30 percent tax on all sales – and the only service they have ever provided me is a threatening letter," thus he joined the Union.
The Android Developers Union has listed seven policy changes that they are trying to get Google to implement, including a renegotiation of the 32 percent Google cut on applications sold through the store, more payment options and public bug tracking to name just a few.
It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. Some of their issues seem very real and probably need to be addressed by Google in some way. Of course there is always a danger of attracting people that just like to incite hostility or create strife. What do you guys think of all this? Let us hear from any developers on these issues so we can get a well-rounded perspective.
Source: Android.net via Phandroid and Android Developers Union