Jeremy Flynn, Director at Orca Digital.
Two thirds of apps in the Apple App Store are charged. Two thirds of apps in Google Play are ad-funded. Is this intentional, or is it due to Google’s failure to develop a low-friction payment mechanism like iTunes? Does Google really want a slice of payment revenues, given that historically the technology giant has been focussed on ad revenues?
Until recently, I would have said no. But, things seem to be changing.
AIME members held their first workshop on billing apps, with 30 contributing to the inaugural meeting. To summarise a two hour session in a few words: members want to concentrate on persuading mobile network operators (MNOs) to allow access to direct operator billing. Payforit (PFI) does not allow a user to exit an app to a web PFI page, and then return to the same place in the app.
Will MNOs give access to direct operator billing under rules and safeguards akin to PFI? The next meeting will start the dialogue between more “liberal” PFI workshop members and the new apps billing group.
Google has always mandated the use of “Approved Payment Processors” for Google Play apps, but seemed not to enforce this. The inaugural workshop decided to apply for “Payment Processor” status, once we had figured out some proposed UKrules. However, it has been reported that Google’s NFC product, Google Wallet, is to be enhanced to become a regular wallet for digital micropayments, and will be mandated for Google Play.
Here’s a great article on the Register with all of the salient points. It will be interesting to watch how UK MNO’s “Oscar” payment venture fares against Google Wallet.
Are we wasting our time with 3rd party access to direct operator apps billing, given we have to persuade both MNOs and Google? Maybe, but it surely has to be worth an attempt, given that apps billing is one of the fastest growing micropayments sectors. To quote the Chinese proverb “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Finally, a few words to plug the new AIME half-day course you’ll have heard about from Bianca – it’s an examination of all the main micropayment solutions, including the latest incarnation of Google Wallet and will happen towards the end of April or possibly early May. If you, or colleagues, want an update on a fast-changing micropayments world, it is surely worth investing half a day for an update on how PRS now fits into the more complex environment. Just get in touch with B to register your interest (Bianca@aimelink.org).