While Google has less development restrictions than Apple (APPL), there are three reasons why the Android Market will remain second choice:
- Google hasn't fixed anything in months: As Venture Beat notes, discovery tools like app search have been broken for most of 2010, but Google hasn't actually updated the market. The company is finally promising a massive overhaul of the market, but there is no set date. It may be too little, too late anyway.
- Google doesn't offer in-app billing: Apple has implemented and supported in-app billing for months, making enough money so that some free apps, like Capcom's Smurf's Village, became the highest grossing based on in-game purchases alone. The Android market doesn't have the same opportunities: Apps are either free or pay.
- Androids are exploiting 24-hour return policy: Consumers can buy an app, return it in 24 hours, and get their money back. It is a problem with gaming, as a hardcore (or cheap) gamer could play the heck out of a title and return it a day later. However, it is equally troublesome with utilities that consumers only occasionally use, like a flashlight app, and can return to the provider as soon as they are done for a full refund. The freemium system has done wonders on the Apple App Store, but Android offers no parallel -- just a super liberal return policy.
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