(This post was written by Michael Heller, you can visit his Blog at http://east73.com/)
It’s no secret that Google has more respect for the common user than most companies. Few companies have leveraged user-generated content in the variety of ways that has Google, such as layers in Maps and all of the fun labs features in different products. But, has this focus on keeping the user happy alienated developers from the Android Market?
Google has tried to make the Market a welcoming place for developers. Registration is a one time $25 fee, compared to a $99 yearly fee for Apple’s App Store. Plus, developers don’t have to go through a frustrating approval process. And, let’s not forget that Google is more than willing to look the other way if you want to profit off of someone else’s copyrighted  or trademarked  material.
With consumers coming first, there are plenty of rules in the Android Market for their protection. For example, Google does not allowing a free version of an app  in the Market if the paid version can’t also be purchased in the Market. Developers may not like this, but at least they can probably understand that Google doesn’t want to give free advertisement, and also Google can’t verify the safety of a paid app in that scenario. Imagine a free app that is little more than a soundboard, but when you go to the developer’s site for the full version, it’s riddled with spyware. Rules like this make sense.
A policy with less obvious reasoning is one I learned about because of a developer who had wanted to offer a one-day sale,  only to find that he couldn’t make his app paid again without delisting the app, then resubmitting. Apparenly, there is a rule in the Android Developer Agreement , which basically states that once you make an app free, it’s always free. Part of the reason for this is likely to prevent a bait-and-switch where you grab a free app only to suddenly find it costs money for an update. Or, it could be to prevent padding download numbers by making it seem like a paid app racked up the popularity instead of the free one. But, I believe another reason is to avoid a simple nuisance for the users. Imagine if you received a “purchase” e-mail for every app, paid or free, from the Android Market, or if every free app you’ve uninstalled stayed in your “downloads” list like they do with paid apps. It’s a small annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless, especially if you have a compulsion to try new apps like I do. Trust me, I received many e-mails like that from iTunes. And, in the occasion that I wanted to find a paid app that I had deleted, searching through those e-mails made me call Steve Jobs a few unchoice names.
Another policy of the Android Market is the ability to return an app for a full refund for up to 24 hours. This is a huge selling point for users, and a luxury which would have saved me some money back when I was an iPhone user. But, not surprisingly, developers aren’t so fond of the policy. Trip Hawkins, the founder of Electronic Arts, who now runs mobile-gaming company Digital Chocolate, even went so far as to call the policy “senseless and lazy.”  Developers are incensed over this policy because they can no longer profit on impulse purchases like they can in Apple’s App Store. As a user, I can only see this policy as a good thing, because it forces developers to strive for quality instead of merely novelty.
All of these little things that we as users don’t consider, or appreciate about the Android Market, can be extremely frustrating for developers, and worse, can cut into their revenues. Google needs to remember that happy users may be good for their brand, but happy developers keep the platform alive.
References:  AppBrain  Android Developer Group  Android Developer Group  Android  Bloomberg