Android Market and SaaS. Is there problem?


I'm working on industry specific software. Basic idea is that I have big fat server somewhere, some web app. and mobile clients.

Now I started to think about legal parts of this model.

Reading Google Market Agreement and see this:

3.3 You may also choose to distribute Products for free. If the Product is
free, you will not be charged a
Transaction Fee. You may not collect
future charges from users for copies
of the Products that those users were
initially allowed to download for
free. This is not intended to prevent
distribution of free trial versions of
the Product with an "upsell" option to
obtain the full version of the
Product: Such free trials for Products
are encouraged. However, if you want
to collect fees after the free trial
expires, you must collect all fees for
the full version of the Product
through the Payment Processor on the
Market. In this Agreement, "free"
means there are no charges or fees of
any kind for use of the Product. All
fees received by Developers for
Products distributed via the Market
must be processed by the Market's
Payment Processor
All fees received by Developers for Products distributed via the Market must be processed by the Market's Payment Processor Nice? So, what should I do? My idea was to bill customers monthly (does Market allow that?) - plus Android is just a client to my bigger sistem. I pay for servers, I have other software running..

Is that gray area? Market for me is a convinient way to distribute app (also it won't be a problem to just host APK myself) and getting word out is not a bad thing. People finding this client, get interested (potentially)..

And than there is:

4.5 Non-Compete. You may not use the Market to distribute or make available
any Product whose primary purpose is
to facilitate the distribution of
Products outside of the Market
Do I understand correctly that I better steer off of Market? Please don't send me to lawyer. I don't feel like getting one involved at this stage, I'm just thinking about future...

Sales Saas Android

asked Jun 24 '11 at 12:55
276 points
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1 Answer


From a similar question on Google's support forum :

Our policies are intended to protect
users from a situation where an app is
listed for free, but then actually
requires a payment inside the app in
order for it to function. However, we
recognize that some companies may
offer an existing paid service - for
example, a cable television provider -
and would like to offer their
subscribers access to the service from
an Android application. So this is
written into our policies. Please note
that this is a general guideline and
we can't comment on specific cases.

answered Jun 24 '11 at 13:32
B Mitch
1,342 points
  • Interesting. Actually, for my app I say right in description that it's subscription-only and people don't even get beyond login screen. – Katit 12 years ago

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