Google has suddenly pulled the popular Visual VoiceMail app from the Android Marketplace, seemingly because of a dispute over in-app payments, according to GigaOm.
The app from developer PhoneFusion gave Android users a way to see voicemails on a menu and pick various options like playback and archiving. The app was popular because it let Android users get a feature that had been standard on the iPhone since launch — Visual VoiceMail got more than one million downloads since its launch in 2008.
After two years with no problems, Google notified PhoneFusion on Tuesday that it was pulling the app for a violation of section 3.3 of the distribution agreement for the Android Marketplace, which requires developers to use Google’s payment system for in-app payments. Visual VoiceMail is free, but the company sells add-on services like transcription through its Web site.
Google hasn’t been strict about enforcing the provision so far, but Apple has recently gotten a lot stricter about collecting in-app payments, which gives Google more leverage over developers.
PhoneFusion told GigaOM that Google gave it no warning or specific information about the violation, which makes it “worse than Apple,” which gave developers until June to comply with the new rules or pull their apps.