Over on ZDNet, James Kendrick posts about a developer who has stopped developing for Android.
Spending 20% of their time customizing the app to work on the various flavours of Android device isn’t the problem – it merely serves to put a price on the problem.
The REAL PROBLEM is stated in the developer’s blog. The fact that they only make 5% of their revenue from the Android platform.
Almost every poster and commenter points at fragmentation as THE problem. It is not shockingly bad. It could be better, but if the developer in question was making half, or even 20% of his revenue from Android, he would in all likelihood suck it up and continue developing for it.
The real issue here is the 5% number – why is this developer only making 5% of his revenue from Android. This is the unaddressed problem here – if indeed it is true (and I have no reason to doubt it). Is it because Android users expect a free lunch? Are they pirating his apps – or just not buying apps at all? The reason for this is not even considered.
I have heard it stated that developers make more money on the ad-supported versions of their apps than they do from paid apps on the android platform. Perhaps this developer does not issue an ad-supported version? These are all theories that need to be investigated, and typical of ZDnet journalism, the elephant in the room is being ignored in order to point at some supposed deficiency of one platform over another and shout nyah-nyah-nyahnyah-nhyah.
Perhaps the Google Market Google Play ecosystem is not strong enough, and the platform too weak and encouraging of Piracy as some have commented. Or perhaps Android is attractive to value purchasers who are not likely to buy apps other than their absolute needs? Has anyone studied this? I wish I had the answers – or the time to find these answers, and I wish even more that the journalists who are paid to delve into such questions would stop wasting my time with their biases and opinions, and get to the root of issues more often.