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Google Pulls Paid Apps From Taiwanese Android Market

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the fifteen-minutes-should-be-enough dept.

Android 186

tlhIngan writes "Taiwan recently mandated that online download sites (like Apple's App Store and Google's Marketplace) must comply with a law stating consumers have 7 days to return goods bought sight-unseen. While Apple has complied, Google has refused to comply. Taiwan fined the search giant NT$1M (approx. US$34,600). In retaliation, Google pulled the paid apps section of the Market for users in Taiwan."

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186 comments

Hey Taiwan... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601368)

Screw you!

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601442)

Yeah, screw Taiwan for looking out for the public interest.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (2)

CTU (1844100) | about 3 years ago | (#36601454)

How is Taiwan to blame? Google is the one you should be mad with. The law is good, but google's reaction to it just plain sucks.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

Altus (1034) | about 3 years ago | (#36601514)

He can't be mad at Google, he is a die hard Google fan, he has to lash out at whatever he perceives to be the threat to his favorite company.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601584)

Why is the law good? Seven days is an unreasonably long time. How many games can you beat/get tired of in a week? How many apps are situational, things that you really only need once or once in a while. For something physical it sort of makes sense, but I still think it goes to far. For something virtual, that long of a mandated refund window is just unreasonable. You get the app minutes after purchase, and you know if it's something you want minutes after that. The only use for a window this long is so people can abuse it.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

CTU (1844100) | about 3 years ago | (#36601718)

That is only if you use it right away. I have gotten games and apps I don't rush to use myself. While I guess I can understand how 7 days is a bit on the long side, I still think it should be long enough for a person to take their time to try and not be in a rush to make a decision.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602038)

A good game is something that you can have fun playing more than once. Maybe more game developers should keep that in mind.

I'm not sure why you'd extend this protection to physical items but not software. There are many physical items I could think of that would be one time use items. I rarely, if ever, need a power saw, so I could just buy one, use it for a day and return it the next day.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602598)

A good game is something which offers maximum fun in the minimum amount of time it takes to deliver the complete experience.

RPG genre is notorious for artificially increasing gameplay hours in order to claim unparalleled 'complexity'. Lengthy refund limits only encourages this practice.

Furthermore, (and typically because of the above-mentioned fraud) most gamers do NOT complete the games they own -- forget about replay potential!

Re:Hey Taiwan... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#36601742)

Google is the one you should be mad with. The law is good, but google's reaction to it just plain sucks.

Well, I don't see why.

Taiwan told Google that if they're going to sell stuff, they have to offer refunds. If they don't have a mechanism in place to offer refunds, they stop selling.

It's a valid response. It might not be the one you'd prefer, but I don't see why they don't get the option of saying "well, that's not how it works anywhere else". Is Taiwan entitled to buy stuff from Google or something?

Re:Hey Taiwan... (0)

geminidomino (614729) | about 3 years ago | (#36602158)

They do have a mechanism in place to offer refunds. They just refused to extend the time period beyond the arguably abusive 15 minute time limit.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#36602462)

Imagine the following scenario:

I go on a weekend visit to a city.

I buy a 30$ GPS software for my phone

I use it for the weekend.

I return it.

Same thing with any game or software. Want to make a trial period? 24 hours is more than enough to evaluate if it is good enough or not. 7 days is unreasonable.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

pherthyl (445706) | about 3 years ago | (#36602610)

So? Some people do the same with physical objects that have far longer return windows. Buy something you only need once, use it, return it. There is always going to be some fraud.

What you could do is only allow someone one return. If they've returned it once, the next time there is no return period (barring major version changes).

Re:Hey Taiwan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602742)

People return merchandise to the reseller after $x days, because the manufacturer typically WON'T accept returns for any reason except defects. Stores can cover the losses because it's a point of competition and it earns them loyal customers who refuse to shop at other stores.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#36602974)

And most of the time they require the item to be returned in mint condition, and games with cd-keys and whatnot usually aren't accepted.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | about 3 years ago | (#36602762)

"Imagine the following scenario:

I go on a weekend visit to a city.

I buy a 30$ GPS software for my phone

I use it for the weekend.

I return it."

That is why we can't have nice things.

Re:Hey Taiwan... (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 3 years ago | (#36602696)

How is Taiwan to blame? Google is the one you should be mad with. The law is good, but google's reaction to it just plain sucks

Really a week to make up your mind about a $1 app? That plain sucks in my view. What stops people from using it for a week and returning it after they get tired of it?

Most legit and useful apps provide free versions as demos for the paid version so you have an idea of what your getting. I agree google has all kinds of quality problems that need to be addressed but I tend to favor a solution where people have reasonable tools to make an informed decision about what they are getting up front.

Google's refund procedure vs. Apple's (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601382)

Likely because were Google to implement this change, it would cause many, many headaches for its developers.

On the iOS platform, all refunds are processed by Apple via the iTunes Store. In the Google Marketplace however, refunds have to be managed manually by the developers.

Re:Google's refund procedure vs. Apple's (2)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#36601460)

They have refunding protocols, just not for 7 days.

Re:Google's refund procedure vs. Apple's (2)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#36602408)

Bullshit. Refunds are normally, absolutely NOT handled by developers. They are handled automatically. They are ONLY handled manually if they are past the trial period and then, only at the discretion of the developer.

Caveat Emptor (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601394)

I'm not really surprised. After all, there's no way most games in the Market take over a week to beat, so this would essentially be giving free video games to Taiwan. That said, I also support customer rights however they manifest. This isn't going to be an easy fix.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 3 years ago | (#36601640)

The alternative is that Google should start requiring demos...

Using the Android Marketplace is an effort in frustration and regret.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36601784)

I have no problems using it. If you do, you could try the amazon market. Not like you are tied to only one market.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 3 years ago | (#36602786)

It's not the marketplace, it's the lack of policy on demo/trial downloads.

And when there is a demo/trial it's almost always another app all together so I have to go hunting for it under "Demo" or "trial" or "lite" or "light" or...

I wanted to try ADWLauncher EX this weekend but couldn't find a demo so that's a potential lost sale. I'm not going to spend $10 to see how well it works in practice.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36602852)

Why could you not try the regular ADW?
Install CM7 that comes with it.

I have 7.1RC1 on my Droid 1.

Re:Caveat Emptor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36603182)

For that matter ADW Launcher is available free on the market, EX is just a more feature-rich version.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#36602034)

After all, there's no way most games in the Market take over a week to beat, so this would essentially be giving free video games to Taiwan.

Has this ever happened before, or is it just assumed that it will happen?

User's fault for not reading app description (3, Informative)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 3 years ago | (#36601436)

FTFA:

The brouhaha started when local users complained that an iPhone app called Super Cell Phone Tracker, which they bought online from the Apple's App Store for US$1.99, did not work at all and there was no way they could ask for a refund. According to the App Store description, the tracker program is a joke and intended only for fun. However, not all buyers read the description before downloading the software.

If you take a look at poorly rated similar prank apps, the reviews are trife with "this doesn't work, I got ripped off" even though the app description clearly states it's a prank, oftentimes in the first sentence.

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#36601494)

Still think that should be considered a scamm. It tries really hard to look legit on everything but the description...

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (2, Insightful)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 3 years ago | (#36601548)

While it tries hard, the disclaimer could not be more clear. What happened to personal responsibility?

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | about 3 years ago | (#36601592)

why are they charging for "pranks" hmmm?!

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 3 years ago | (#36601680)

Who says prank apps have to be free? You are free to charge whatever for whichever app. Whether or not you will have buyers is another matter.

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#36601958)

Come on, this is only one step above the people who run eBay auctions advertising expensive items, describe the item in great detail then put in small writing at the bottom "please note you are buying a picture of the item, not the item itself". Would you not describe those as scams?

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 3 years ago | (#36601976)

What happened to personal responsibility?

Such as having to take personal responsibility when caught trying to con people out of their money?

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 3 years ago | (#36602148)

Rather than addressing individual apps/con jobs, you'd rather apply a blanket rule over all. How can that possibly go wrong?

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 3 years ago | (#36601650)

Do you realize how stupid that statement is?

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#36601892)

please, do tell why it is stupid.

I don't mind constructive criticism.

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 3 years ago | (#36601526)

If Apple is going to spend all this time reviewing apps and rejecting them for all kinds of reasons, you'd think they might rename the ones that are going to cause people problems rather than taking the unprofessional passive/aggressive approach: "Well, you should have read the description! Just because it says it's a Super Cell Phone Tracker doesn't mean it IS one!"

Re:User's fault for not reading app description (1)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 3 years ago | (#36602020)

Honestly if you think that you can buy yourself the ability to track the location of ANY cell phone, arbitrarily, for a mere 1.99, I suppose it is completely out of the question to expect such an individual to actually read the description of something he is about to pay for. Apple is not acting unprofessional here. The app is clearly marked as a prank, functions as a prank and does everything outlined in a make-believe fashion. And here comes government to save the idiots from themselves.

No one pays for Android applications anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601446)

It's in Google's interests to ensure that ads are the only way to monetize Android applications.

don't do evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601468)

This is Google doing evil.

Re:don't do evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601562)

Yeah? Then why was the Android Marketplace the first to have a 24 hour (later reduced to 15 minute) refund policy? Taiwan wants Google to extend this to 7 days, which is ridiculous when applied to software.

Re:don't do evil (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 3 years ago | (#36601604)

Better to be ridiculous in favor of the consumer than the corporate overlord (which 15 minutes is).

Agreed with GP.

Re:don't do evil (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 3 years ago | (#36601898)

Kids do buy games without their parents permission too. Which may only become apparent after a few days.

Re:don't do evil (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 years ago | (#36601698)

15 minute return policy? That's fucking useless.

Re:don't do evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601942)

No, a 15-minute policy does its job: assessing that apps actually work. Refunds aren't there because "I was disappointed with the overall user-experience quality."

If you can't briefly test an app in 15 minutes then it's far too large or bloated and should be refunded immediately.

Many apps are designed to be used only once. Adding a 24-hour refund policy to them is just asking for mass end-user exploitation.

Don't BE evil Re:don't do evil (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 3 years ago | (#36601664)

By complying with Taiwanese law instead of continuing to violate it? Not sure how that qualifies as doing evil.

Oh, by the way, the Google motto "Don't be evil" [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Don't BE evil Re:don't do evil (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#36602220)

The evil is the fact that instead of complying with a sane law, they say "fuck you consumer, we dont respect you enough to put out a good enough product and give you a chance to see if it works for you on our increasingly fragmented ecosystem."

Re:don't do evil (3, Informative)

stoanhart (876182) | about 3 years ago | (#36602060)

You have to do more than just claim that something is evil. You have to make an actual point about why this is evil.

Put yourself in their shoes. You're a business, and want to operate in some jurisdiction. They have rules you don't like. You can either a) abide by the rules, b) choose not to operate there, or c) campaign to have the rules changed. All of these area reasonable options, none of them are evil, and Google chose B.

Stop being so alarmist.

Re:don't do evil (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#36603030)

I was thinking that they should try pulling specific services out of places when governments, etc, complain about them. Search links in Italy recently for example ... pull Google search. Privacy complaints (post-face blurring), pull street-view. The best way to get people to appreciate some of these services might be to disable them for specific countries. If people want them back, they can address their governments as to why they're not available and perhaps have a referendum on the matter. Just a though, and I'm not sure whether or not it's a particularly good one.

Re:don't do evil (1)

Dunega (901960) | about 3 years ago | (#36603036)

This is Slashdot, where Google and Android are to be routinely bashed. Logic and reason are to be left at the door. Apple could do the same thing and be praised to high heaven for it.

They are complying, I guess. (2)

fidget42 (538823) | about 3 years ago | (#36601474)

I suppose that is one way to comply with the law.

Retaliation? (1)

Altus (1034) | about 3 years ago | (#36601478)

That'll show em.

Re:Retaliation? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601696)

"Retaliation" and "pulls" are flamebait words made up by the submitter. Google's statement used the word suspended, meaning the action is likely temporary until further consideration.

It's a good law... (4, Insightful)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 3 years ago | (#36601516)

Why are these folks always ahead of us... faster broadband, contactless payment... If they void software patents, I'm emigrating.

Re:It's a good law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601638)

" I'm emigrating." Don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on your way out.

Re:It's a good law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601984)

Y U MAD?

Re:It's a good law... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602096)

America is behind, and continues to fall further behind because of the general attitude that, no matter what anybody says or any arguments made to the contrary, "America is #1!". Only rednecks speak it aloud, but everyone has it in our collective sub-conscious, America is the best, even if we fail at one thing, or several things, we're still on top. There's pretty much only a few things America is still #1 at: Consuming/spending, our high expectations/demands, and war (no political comment, but we do have the most "expensive" and active military in the world.)

I've been to Taiwan on several occasions, it's a great place. Everyone I've met or know who has gone there has stayed there (aside from myself, because I'm addicted to the American way of life of fast cars and big houses), but I visit every year, and American tourism can't touch it. I would probably move, if I ever did manage to stop buying things long enough to pay them off and start fresh. What can I say, I'm American.

Re:It's a good law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602638)

America makes fast cars? My experience from american cars is they are fast, in a strait line. Latest in that line is the Corvette, with leaf springs. Its like a small lorry.

Re:It's a good law... (1)

Dunega (901960) | about 3 years ago | (#36603078)

You drive your car in water?

Not taking any chances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601700)

contactless payment

"for our many customers with immunodeficiencies"

Re:It's a good law... (1)

Pyrion (525584) | about 3 years ago | (#36602010)

It's funny, really. The most popular story on that site is about Taiwan's high court slapping someone with a fine equivalent to about $7k USD as well as a month of jail time over a blog post. They're not *always* ahead of us.

Re:It's a good law... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#36602872)

Depends -what- post was that. If they rickrolled the jury, they were really asking for it.

Re:It's a good law... (1)

trunicated (1272370) | about 3 years ago | (#36602450)

It's not a good law. Most people that use the $1-$2 apps on the app store pay for them, play them for a few days (or hours!) and then never touch them again. This law completely destroys that market. And while ad supported and free may be a better route to go, it's silly that the government has created a law mandating returnable software that forces developers down that path. How about you spend your dollar, and then live with or without it? And if we're talking about more expensive apps, well, why the hell didn't you do the research before you bought the app? It's like buying a car, and then getting the car home, and realize that, while functional, it's not at all what you wanted. Probably something you should have thought about before you bought it.

Re:It's a good law... (1)

tokul (682258) | about 3 years ago | (#36602508)

I'm emigrating.

They live on 35 thousand sq km area (668 people per sq km, 15th most dense country in the world) under constant threat of being overrun by their neighbor.

Re:It's a good law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602574)

You better be really talented in order to land a job there. Otherwise they do not want you because China/Taiwan is already full of people.

What a difference an 'F' makes. (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#36601534)

The word is "off", not "of". But other then that I have to wonder how much of this is a technical issue. As far as I can tell the Android market has no real system in place for insuring that an app gets removed prior to a refund being issued. Which would more or less make paid apps "free" if they where forced to allow refunds. Bit of a PITA and something I hope Google addresses soon.

Re:What a difference an 'F' makes. (1)

megla (859600) | about 3 years ago | (#36601756)

The word is "off", not "of".

If you're going to be a grammar pedant at least try to be a correct grammar pedant.

Google pulled the paid apps section of the Market for users in Taiwan.

"Of the market" as in "belonging to/part of the Market". This is perfectly valid and much better English than using "off" in the way you wanted to see.

Re:What a difference an 'F' makes. (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 3 years ago | (#36601874)

Actually you already have 24 hours for a refund on the Android market and it does strip it from the device if you return it. However, you can make and keep a copy of it if you're rooted.

Re:What a difference an 'F' makes. (1)

Avenger_Mullah (1304473) | about 3 years ago | (#36602210)

Actually you already have 24 hours for a refund on the Android market [...]

they changed it a month or so ago. Now you only have 15 minutes to get a refund

Re:What a difference an 'F' makes. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 3 years ago | (#36602026)

The word is "off", not "of".

No. There are two parts of the Android market. There is the "paid" part and the "free" part. They are distinct parts and thus Google has removed the "paid" apps part of the market.

Re:What a difference an 'F' makes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602838)

Are you aware you appear even more uneducated than the summary's writer appears to you when you try to make yourself sound superior, but then make two mistakes of exactly the same kind?

...But other then that...

The word you were looking for here is "than", which implies comparison. The word "then" typically implies chronology or a cause and effect relationship.

...place for insuring...

The word you were looking for here is "ensuring", which is a derivative of "ensure" and that means to make certain or guarantee. The word "insure" (and its derivatives) mean to secure indemnity or to secure against loss or harm.

The point here is to stop criticizing spelling where it makes no difference, especially where it could have been a simple typographical error or might possibly be a use with which you are unfamiliar. I tend to be particularly picky about proper spelling, due in part to the fact my mother was a teacher and the rest is down to the fact that I consider it important. However, I am able to discriminate between the times where correcting another's spelling is useful or important and the times where proper spelling is essentially irrelevant. Furthermore, correcting another's spelling is largely a waste of time, as it is too easy to misspell something you are writing. You should learn to discriminate, as well, because you'll save yourself lots of embarrassment since you clearly do not have as strong a grasp of the English language as you delude yourself into believing you do. Other examples of your exemplary English language skills:

...not "of". But other...

Sentences are not to begin with words such as 'but', 'and', 'or', or 'because', as they are conjunctions linking ideas. Your sentence would have been fine had it begun thusly: "Other than that,...". Yes, you also missed a comma after "that".

As far as I can tell the...

Another missed comma between "tell" and "the". Normally, I wouldn't bring up comma usage because it is too easy to get wrong, even for me. However, this is a simple case where it should be glaringly obvious to anyone truly fluent in the English language that a comma is warranted.

...issued. Which...

You began a sentence with "which" and, as mentioned above, "which" is in the category of words with which you do not begin sentences. As written, this sentence should have begun with "this". Your entire sentence would have worked much better if written something like this: "If they were forced to allow refunds, this would more or less make paid apps 'free'".

So, the next time you are tempted to spout off about someone else's spelling or grammar, have another think and ensure your spelling and grammar are above reproach. While you are at it, list three or more possible reasons why the person's spelling or grammar are incorrect. As a freebie, I'll give you five possible reasons for spelling and grammatical mistakes:
1. The writer fat-fingered while typing and didn't notice the error (whether they proof-read or not is irrelevant as they may have missed the error while proof-reading).
2. The writer was thinking about what they were going to write next, rather than what they are writing now.
3. The writer is dyslexic.
4. The writer is not fluent in English. Substitute "English" for your language of choice, especially if you are fluent in another language (or multiple other languages).
5. The writer wrote their missive, then changed their minds about what they were going to say or how they were going to say it and failed to correct their spelling or grammar after re-writing their missive.

Will they pull out of the UK (2)

Albanach (527650) | about 3 years ago | (#36601568)

I wonder if they will pull out of the UK too? The UK has distance selling regulations [oft.gov.uk] that mandate a seven day "cooling off period" for internet sales.

Indeed, it looks like these regulations should be EU wide and I don't see any exemption for software sales.

Re:Will they pull out of the UK (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 years ago | (#36601720)

Unfortunately not
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/regulation/13/made [legislation.gov.uk]

Exceptions to the right to cancel
13.—(1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts—

(d)for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software if they are unsealed by the consumer;

Re:Will they pull out of the UK (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 3 years ago | (#36602076)

If you didn't download; there no "seal" was broken. At least, it's the next best thing.

Re:Will they pull out of the UK (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 3 years ago | (#36602582)

Indeed - the only reason for that was because the consumer could copy then return. That, however, is not a concern here as the App Store should be able to deactivate the software on the client.

Re:Will they pull out of the UK (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 years ago | (#36602518)

That looks pretty clearly aimed at physical products though.

Re:Will they pull out of the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602176)

I think they are EU wide. There was a european directive in the 90's I think that mandated this.

What they didn't say (2)

gubers33 (1302099) | about 3 years ago | (#36601634)

Was that you can return you Apple app, but Steve Jobs gets your soul.

Re:What they didn't say (2)

yarnosh (2055818) | about 3 years ago | (#36601964)

No problem. I wasn't using my soul anyway. I can do everything with iMojo.

Well played, Taiwan (2)

waddgodd (34934) | about 3 years ago | (#36601792)

How do you make the pay-for-crap-software market go away? Make the guys running it go away. I'm pretty sure that the Taiwanese aren't going to miss a $5 frontend to "killall" or about a dozen pay frontends to "ntpdate"

Re:Well played, Taiwan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602252)

At first glance it seems like "good riddance" and it's only hurting Google to stop selling apps in Taiwan, but a lot of mobile developers in Taiwan develop for Android and a lot of Android developers are in Taiwan, and a lot of them only sell to other in "Chinese" culture because of the intended use and language of the apps. So it's really hurting the many Android developers in Taiwan who rely on selling to other Taiwanese consumers through the Marketplace.

Google is trying to use it's might to force Taiwan to change the law or make an exception by wringing the little guys, which is despicable. Everyone's always on Apple for being hard-assed and set in their ways, but for once I can say "Good going Apple!", you're giving the consumer what they want: Quality apps, obeying the law, and refunds (per the law) for apps people don't like.*

* There's a widely known idea in business that losing a little money, even to non-customers, to have happy customers and good press is better than keeping and hoarding all your money and never succumbing to a scam or fraud. Example: A friend's friend runs an online liquor outlet, and a customer complained that they didn't receive an expensive bottle of wine they ordered as part of a larger order of a bunch of cheap wines. They checked the receipts, the server logs and the billing and the customer never ordered the wine or even had it in their cart, but the customer continued to make such a fuss and outcry over it that they just gave him the bottle of wine. Sure they're out that money, but it's better than a post on Slashdot about a "scamming online store" because one person's scam didn't work.

Pass the peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601842)

Now we'll see who has the bigger clout - Google or Taiwan... I know where I'd put my money :)

Oh, and let's watch the Android crowd explain in great detail why Google is doing the right thing, and why Apple is the real villain here.

Not good for game developers. (1)

atticus9 (1801640) | about 3 years ago | (#36601894)

Under a seven day return policy, someone can purchase a game, playing through it in a week, and then return it for a full refund. Unless you have a lot of content or are super addictive, this seems like it would kill most indie game developers. If I recall Google has a 30 minute return policy on apps.

Re:Not good for game developers. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 3 years ago | (#36602058)

If I recall Google has a 30 minute return policy on apps.

Which is total bullshit considering there have been many cases when I've fought for well more than 30 minutes just to get an app to download and install.

Re:Not good for game developers. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#36602288)

Then design a longer lasting product. Consumer protection should not be put by the way side because devs are lazy.

Re:Not good for game developers. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about 3 years ago | (#36603018)

What about non-game products?

How about a language translator you need for a 3 day trip? Then when the trip is over, you return it.

What about a VIN number researcher? And when you're done, you return it.

Imagine that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36601936)

Apple does the right thing and Google just takes their ball and goes home. So much for Google and open sores.

15 minutes refund is a bad policy. (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 3 years ago | (#36602008)

15 minutes is usually not enough to fully evaluate application (unless it's complete junk). People hesitate to buy with such policy, which hurts developers and forces them to maintain separate evaluation versions. On the other hand 1 day or 7 days refund will be abused by very few dishonest customers only. Majority of those who don't want to pay for the app, would just pirate the app in the first place.

So I don't understand why Google is doing it. Is it really slowly becoming another evil empire? Or it just can't cope with high rates of refunds caused by low Android app quality?

Re:15 minutes refund is a bad policy. (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 3 years ago | (#36602340)

And yet Apple's App Store rakes in the money without any sort of return policy (that I can find) to begin with.

Re:15 minutes refund is a bad policy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602620)

A search for "apple app store return policy" turned up their sales policies [apple.com] .

In short, the policy is no refunds on electronic downloads. In practice, if you ask, they'll give you store credit.

Re:15 minutes refund is a bad policy. (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 3 years ago | (#36602764)

Well, we all know what Apple is. The reason many chose Android is not to be (mis)treated by two companies run by Steves.

Re:15 minutes refund is a bad policy. (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 3 years ago | (#36603144)

Apple complies with the 7-day requirement in Taiwan, but doesn't allow refunds elsewhere in the world.

link [pocketgamer.biz]

FREE GAMES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602378)

Holey shit! This is brilliant! I usually finish a game with in 7 days of buying it and often don't play it again. This is ideal it means all my games are FREE!
Buy game
Play game and finish with in 7 days
Refund game since I'm finished.
???
(I) Profit

For other apps, if I can repeat this process I WIN AGAIN!

Re:FREE GAMES! (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 3 years ago | (#36602854)

And how much money will you lose by doing nothing but playing for 7 days?

Oh, you were fired from your last job a year ago for being an anonymous coward, and still unemployed for the same reason? Sorry, this question doesn't apply to you then...

Good for Taiwan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602422)

I hope these type of laws start spreading. Definitely pro consumer. Shame on google.

Retaliation or Compliance? It's not that simple. (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36602542)

If you lose a court case because you are out of compliance, the first reasonable action may be to pull the product until you can make the change, test the change, and put the site back up.

Or, they found another problem, namely, that they can't sell US apps because of existing contractual obligations to US app owners. So, in Taiwan, it may not be as simple as extending the return period to 7 days. In fact, they may need to create a totally walled off Taiwan store, which gives app owners the option of selling there, thereby submitting to a 7 day return.

Obviously, some games will not do this for one big reason... some games can be completed in under 7 days, and therefore it makes no sense to sell there.

Re:Retaliation or Compliance? It's not that simple (1)

vikisonline (1917814) | about 3 years ago | (#36602748)

Agree with this. Any game can really be completed in 7 days. However it would not affect utilities, and tools that you would use on a day to day basis. It would only affect those games that you can beat in 7 days. Which is anything other than pointless addictive farmville clones. Those games never end. On the other hand, whats to stop a person from buying the game, returning it, then buying it again. Oh now we are getting into the same problem brick and mortar stores have to deal with. Hmmm.

Re:Retaliation or Compliance? It's not that simple (4, Insightful)

vikisonline (1917814) | about 3 years ago | (#36602792)

The solution to it? Let them do it. I mean its inconvenient enough, and those people would probably not buy the products anyways, and alienating possible customers is never a good solution. So make it inconvenient to steal it, and cheaply affordable. Those that want it will buy it. Those that just muck around will not buy it anyways. Unlike with brick and mortar stores, you haven't lost anything other than a couple MB of data transfer. But I think the good will and retainment of those willing to pay is much more important to keep. This is something most companies have not learned yet.

What's the motivation? (1)

pz (113803) | about 3 years ago | (#36602570)

Google can clearly afford USD 34,000. Not even half a year of salary and benefits for one developer. So they get fined. Cost of doing business. Ignore it can carry on.

On the other hand, why would they not want to comply with what on the face of it is a good, pro-consumer law? And what happened to the corporate motto, "do not be evil"?

Disabling the paid segment of the market for Taiwan just seems so --- what's the word? ah, yes --- petulant, especially since there are alternate reactions that make more sense. Two points demerit for Google for not taking the higher ground.

Re:What's the motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36602738)

Well there is nothing wrong with small apps for a dollar/euro if people are willing to pay for them.

I don't think a returns policy makes sense for such game. An ad supported, one level demo is the right approach IMO.

You have a perfectly good game that a customer could be satisfied with that is incredibly short but if they can get their money back afterwards by just asking, some people will take advantage of such a policy. Not everyone is honest even though must probably would be honest anyway but when there is no face that you are hurting then it is easy for people to see it as a victimless crime.

I think an ad supported demo makes sense anyway. The ad pays for the development of the demo and in some cases, will probably generate as much money as the app itself. Happy users that want more will pay to get more content especially if the price is cheap.

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