March 31, 2009 | by Robert Nelson
Google seems to have made a move similar to Apple when it comes to the availability of tethering applications and has begun removing them from the Android Market. This news comes courtesy of the developer behind the WiFi Tether for Root Users app, who is reporting that Google has pulled his application.
According to the developer this is what he received in regards to the situation;
“Google enters into distribution agreements with device manufacturers and Authorized Carriers to place the Market software client application for the Market on Devices. These distribution agreements may require the involuntary removal of Products in violation of the Device manufacturer’s or Authorized Carrier’s terms of service”
This was his response;
“Your Data Plan is intended for Web browsing, messaging, and similar activities on your device and not on any other equipment. Unless explicitly permitted by your Data Plan, other uses, including for example, tethering your device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted.”
Overall, while upsetting, this does not come as a big surprise here in the US. It seems that phone manufacturers are often afraid of the carriers, of course, it is currently against the T-Mobile terms of service to tether anyway.
This does bring up a few questions though. Since Android and the Android Market seems to be expanding to numerous areas outside the US, will Google only be removing access to tethering apps in areas where it is against the carriers TOS.
More importantly, with the ability to download and install apps from other locations outside the Market, would a ban like this ever really be effective? Assuming Google really is pulling all tethering apps, the biggest downfall I see is that the developers may have a harder time promoting their apps, but they should not be shut out entirely.
Either way, this is still not very good news, especially considering how most users felt Android was/is an open platform.