Popular app ROM Manager from developer Koushik “Koush” Dutta has been removed from the Play Store by Google for violation of the Google Play Developer Program policies. In particular, Koush’s app fell afoul of the provision which requires apps offering in-app purchases to use (and to only use) Google’s in-app billing system.
Until now, Koush had processed upgrades to ROM Manager Premium via an in-app purchase facilitated in one of two ways; via PayPal, or via a Play Store licence. The reason for this is simple; Koush offered a premium version of the app via upgrade well before Google introduced an in-app billing system (in March 2011). However, since that time, Google has mandated that developers distributing apps on the Play Store only use Google’s in-app billing system. Cynics might say this is because Google takes a 30% cut of any in-app purchases made this way, but it could also be (and probably is) to make the user experience as seamless as possible.
In any case, Google wasn’t getting their cut here, and with ROM Manager being one of the most popular apps on the Play Store, the violation really had to be addressed, both to keep Google from going broke (ha!) and also to ensure that a well known app wasn’t able to breach the policies and seemingly get away with it (i.e. this would set a pretty bad example).
Google wrote to Koush about four weeks ago to advise him that his backup app Helium was also in breach, which Koush quickly fixed. However, it seems the same warning wasn’t given for ROM Manager which was just pulled straight out. It seems more than likely that someone who wasn’t entirely familiar with the situation saw that Koush’s account had been flagged for IAP violations, saw that ROM Manager was one of these, and pulled the app.
Either way, it seems likely that Koush will have a new version of the app on the Play Store pretty quickly, as indicated by his post on the issue on Google+.