Reports: Google Pulling Tethering Apps From Android Marketplace

Illustration for article titled Reports: Google Pulling Tethering Apps From Android Marketplace

Developers are reporting a mass delisting of Android tethering apps from the App Marketplace, after being informed that such apps breach the Developer Distribution Agreement. That's your cue for righteous indignation, internet!

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It's not yet clear if all tethering apps have been pulled from the Marketplace, but a some have—and we know why. Though the developer of Wifi Tether for Root Users—one of the apps that got pulled—doesn't reprint his entire exchange with Google, he tells us that their reasoning invokes T-Mobile's terms of service, which (surprise!) prohibit unofficial tethering.

These actions surely won't sit well with many, but it would have been naive not to expect them, at least a little. For all the "open" trappings of Android, the G1 is still a subsidized phone. Protecting their own interests and arguably counter to the OS's ethos, T-Mobile locked the phone, like all carriers do. Likewise, to capitalize on tethering plans (or alternately, to minimize data traffic) they're now demanding that Google pull apps that endanger their business interests, despite the fact that anyone can just download these same apps independently of the store and install them anyway.

But that's obvious. What's not obvious is why they doing this now, and why they allowed these apps in the first place, setting a precedent for the Marketplace's independence from carriers' dictates that they now have to break, making asses out of everyone involved. [False Dichotomies via Android Community]

DISCUSSION

Come to think of it, why does T-Mobile's terms-of-service have any affect on the Android Market at all? It's true that the only official Android phone right now is a T-Mobile exclusive, but it was my understanding that in the future all phones on all carriers would share the same market.

I think this is a temporary problem. Right now T-Mobile has exclusivity and Google doesn't want to step on their toes. Soon enough there will be phones across multiple carriers, including ones that didn't have design assistance from Google, and all of this will become irrelevant.

Luckily, in the mean time the authors of these applications are free to distribute them over the internet. I think anybody who has a rooted phone capable of using these apps is probably a member of a message board where they could learn where to get them, anyway.