Android Platform manager steps down after failing to fix app sales

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android, and is being replaced by Jamie Rosenberg from Google Music as the company aligns all of its digital content under the Google Play umbrella.



Rosenberg has led Google Music for the last two years after arriving from Microsoft via its disastrous Pink Project acquisition of Danger (the company cofounded by Android manager Andy Rubin).



Chu plans to take another position within Google, leaving Rosenberg to take over his tasks in managing Android app sales.











The failed plan to fix Android Market



Last January, Chu admitted to "anxious app developers" that Google was "not happy" about the limited number of apps actually being purchased in Android Market, and outlined plans for turning the beleaguered software store around in 2011.



Chu delivered upon promises to add iOS-style in-app purchases, and to remodel Android Market and expand its global exposure and the visibility of Android apps last summer after acknowledging that the company needed to clean up Android Market as it had failed to do in 2010 following high profile complaints from developers including ,











Chu said there was a team tasked with "weeding out apps that violate Android Market’s terms of service," an indication that Google's free-for-all market design was recognized to have serious drawbacks. The company also took steps to restrict its licensing partners and discourage them from making drastic changes that fragment the platform.



A very bad year for Android Market



However, Android app sales have not dramatically turned around since, despite the fact that the majority of smartphones not running Apple's iOS incorporate some version of Google's Android platform software, providing the search giant with a large installed base to sell apps.



By the end of 2011, analysts were pointing out that Google had struggled to gain traction for app sales in Android Market. Apple's iOS platform continued to eat up around 90 percent of mobile software revenues.











At the same time, Android Market was targeted as being plagued with malware and spyware by security companies that note Apple's curated iOS App Store doesn't have the same issues, despite much greater sales volumes, the much wider global reach of iTunes, and far higher greater revenues and profits that are supposed to attract malicious attacks.



Throughout 2011, Google focused on launching Android tablets with the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but its efforts had so little impact that both HP's discontinued webOS TouchPad and RIM's dismal sales of PlayBooks largely overshadowed Android's advance among tablets as an alternative to the iPad.



The most successful Android-based tablets in 2011 were those sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but those products used an older version of Android incompatible with the Honeycomb software Google was trying to sell, and both of those products tied app sales to the booksellers' own software markets rather than Google's Android Market.



After a bleak year for Honeycomb tablets, Google's latest release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuted this winter, aimed at reusing Honeycomb's development efforts for smartphones. However, the new software was initially only available for Google's Galaxy Nexus, and has been slow to roll out on other handsets. The new software is only supported on new phones released in the last year, but even those users must wait for carriers and hardware vendors to release specific builds for their particular phone model.



Apps were not a priority for spreading Android adoption



A report by TechCrunch described a political feud between Chu (who managed developer relations and business development) and David Conway (who managed product development).



"Because there were two heads with relatively equal power, it was difficult to understand who had final say and that led to unnecessary politics," the report stated.



"Because Rubin judges the success of Android primarily through device activations and mobile search revenue, the app store has been a secondary priority inside the group. This is even though apps are a key reason consumers might choose one type of device over another."



Chu had made comments a year ago that Google was "betting on" HTML5 as a way to create apps. Google employees have previously made it clear that the company sees the Java-like core VM of Android as only a stepping stone to a future where apps are created in HTML, as soon as web tools can support sophisticated apps.



Not worth Google Play-ing



Developers have frequently described Google's Android app market, recently merged into the company's music, movies and ebook sales under the new, non-Android specific name Google Play, as not worth their time to support given the added complexities of the wide open hardware configurations among Android devices compared to the minimal revenues the store generates.











Mika Mobile recently explained why it was dropping support for Android, noting that "it doesn't make a lot of sense to dedicate resources to it," and stating, "we spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc."



The developer told customers, "I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware.



"These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.



"From a purely economic perspective, I can no longer legitimize spending time on Android apps, and the new features of the market do nothing to change this," the developer wrote.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,807member
    Before I had my current iPhone 4S I had an Android phone. In addition to the Google App market you also have the Amazon version and several more. The reason to install the Amazon market is you could find apps for a cheaper price and they also offered daily free apps for paid apps. The problem is that Amazon were often late to issue updates and it took up space and duplicated functionality. They definitely need to do something to cut down on the confusion.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member
    I think Google's approach must change! I think the options for Android are:



    1. Have an OS that provides core functionality and is open to everyone to use. But have your own Google flavoured version. This is similar to the WebKIT model. The core is similar but Safari and Chrome flavours are out there.



    2. Follow an Apple model and stop releasing Android. Put it on Moto hardware and sell it under the Google/Moto brand only. The rest of the industry can move to Windows!



    I cannot see anything else that could be helpful for Android at the moment!
  • Reply 3 of 49
    htoellehtoelle Posts: 89member
    Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android. It is reported that he plans a new career as a Captain for the Carnival Cruise Lines. Although the name of the vessel as yet has not been announced. Rumour has its name as a blast from the past.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    [...] Chu plans to take another position within Google, leaving Rosenberg to take over his tasks in managing Android app sales. [...]



    I'm sure Amazon would be happy to poach Mr. Chu from Google. I hear the Kindle Fire, with its proprietary, closed, customized version of Android 2.3 is selling pretty well.



    Then there's Samsung. It's only a matter of time before Samsung does the same thing. They're crushing all other Android smartphone makers already, and having an optimized fork of Android for their own hardware would give them an even bigger advantage. But Google won't lift a finger to help Samsung extend their lead because they're stuck with Motorola Mobile. It'll take decades to recoup that $12.5 billion purchase price with the thin little trickle of money they'll get from all those FRAND-encumbered basic technology patents. So Google won't even do thing #1 to help Samsung optimize Android.



    I'd bet a dollar that Mr. Chu is waiting for a big fat offer from Samsung.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post


    2. Follow an Apple model and stop releasing Android. Put it on Moto hardware and sell it under the Google/Moto brand only. The rest of the industry can move to Windows!



    Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.



    Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.



    Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.



    I agree you cannot do that lightly. However you can restrict the amount of code you dedicate to future versions of Android and rebrand your build to a different name. You could even create a new OS based on some core functionalities of the current open source Android and with the rest of the code being proprietary.



    Again I agree with you that it is not Easy to do but the current Android business model is not sustainable!
  • Reply 7 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    Likely no one but developers will be interested in this particular video, but I've noted there are a few here who mentioned building apps for both iOS and Android. So the Google Developer's SXSW Lightning conf. video from yesterday is here (nothing of interest until around the 13 minute mark:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...v=zH5bJSG0DZk#!
  • Reply 8 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post


    I agree you cannot do that lightly. However you can restrict the amount of code you dedicate to future versions of Android and rebrand your build to a different name. You could even create a new OS based on some core functionalities of the current open source Android and with the rest of the code being proprietary.



    Again I agree with you that it is not Easy to do but the current Android business model is not sustainable!



    They could even start a paid program for developers that would get Google to certify apps as being malware free and doing what they claim to do that could be sold in the same store as Google Play Certified. Or is that simply not possible to do with any level certainty with their design?
  • Reply 9 of 49
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    As Steve used to love to say...



    "Boom!"



  • Reply 10 of 49
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by htoelle View Post


    Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android. It is reported that he plans a new career as a Captain for the Carnival Cruise Lines. Although the name of the vessel as yet has not been announced. Rumour has its name as a blast from the past.



    No he has been hired to captain the Costa Concordia.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    They could even start a paid program for developers that would get Google to certify apps as being malware free and doing what they claim to do that could be sold in the same store as Google Play Certified. Or is that simply not possible to do with any level certainty with their design?



    I am not sure you can do that! Because developers have to disclose their secrets to other developers which can complicate things ...
  • Reply 12 of 49
    I have to admit that I cried like a little girl over the news in this story... so sad. Google is doomed, doomed, I tell you. Hehehehehhe...!
  • Reply 13 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.



    If you own the copyrights, yes you can. Obviously you can't make previous versions no longer open source, but they can for anything in the future. Now they can't make the Linux kernel closed-source but since they own the copyrights to the userland part (which is the major hunk of the code) they can easily close source it. Also, even if they didn't own the copyrights to all of the APLv2 code, it allows you to modification without source distribution.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.



    If that were true, they would have been obligated to open source Honeycomb and the only code they released was the kernel
  • Reply 14 of 49
    eideardeideard Posts: 428member
    Completely aside from this topic, a family discussion this afternoon - just watching business news on the TV - concluded Google is starting to look like Microsoft in many ways.



    This just adds to that conclusion.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post







    As bad as this data looks for Android and Google, note that it is biased in Android's favor. The Android figures include an extra month and a half of sales compared to iOS - so a fair comparison would be even more dramatic.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    If he's trying to make the platform a success, it's a bit counterproductive to go around saying it's all temporary, and they're really waiting for HTML5 to kick off.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    Eric Schmidt & crew chose "open" and customizable as the Google mantra. Even the word "mantra" has that invincible feel to it like the feel of being The Google God CEO, and being known worldwide, ala "do no evil".



    If the mantra were "Do the most Good", maybe an analysis on day 1 would have shown that an entirely open, & ultimately forked and essentially bastardized OS was doomed to become anything but controllable. EI, each user of a forked open OS was limited by the ability to deliver developers.



    In one way, Balmer was right when he screamed and bounced across the stage yelling "Developers, Developers, Developers". Steve Jobs said things in his own way about the subject.



    But Schmidt thought he was smarter than the rest, or maybe he was uninterested and simply OK'd and repeated what his Android team leader told him, but he certainly ignored the lessons learned by Apple and Microsoft.



    It is probably too late for Schmidt & Google because the genie is out of the bottle and it could take years to try to pop that slippery character back in, if ever. Meanwhile, Apple is absolutely running at breakneck speed to steamroll everyone else in the smartphone OS sphere with a top to bottom integrated system.



    Apple may be "closed" on the OS side, but as far as developers of hundreds of thousands of apps goes, it is open enough for them to earn an incredible amount of both exposure and income and Apple understood what it took to get developer loyalty...and that was stability above all. You can NOT waste programming time and still make a living.



    Schmidt forked himself.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,357moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    By the end of 2011, analysts were pointing out that Google had struggled to gain traction for app sales in Android Market. Apple's iOS platform continued to eat up around 90 percent of mobile software revenues.



    I think a large part of this comes from the mentality of the respective audiences. Typically, people who like free, open software like all of their software to be open and free.



    Without quality control, there's also a problem when it comes to trust. It's much harder to trust publishers in the Android Store.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    it really is "fragmentation" that is holding back the Android app market/sales. the post yesterday at Ars Technica by Ryan Paul about this - Android fragmentation also a challenge for Web developers - is worth reading:



    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/...0#comments-bar



    the most telling information was deep at the end of the comments by a European iOS/Android developer with the user name Bernstein. he was actually defending Android, but provided a great deal of insight into its issues. i can't in fairness quote his entire comment here, but the punch line (whether he realized it or not) was that, because Android updates to older hardware are rolled out so slowly or not at all:



    "apps for android coded today are mostly at API 2.1," i.e., the lowest common denominator to sell to the biggest number of user, which is a much more limited OS than Android's current ICS 4.0 - and not even as good as Honeycomb 3.1.



    it would be like most iPhone apps still being designed today for iOS 3.x. it explains why so many Android apps are clearly inferior to their iOS counterparts. and why users don't buy nearly as many of them.



    this is the fault of the OEM's and telcos of course. but it is deadly. and there is nothing Chu, or Rosenberg, or Rubin himself can do about it.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    kent909kent909 Posts: 731member
    Open Source looks good and inviting until you actually have to deal with the carriers and all their BS. No thanks, fragmentation suks.
Sign In or Register to comment.