Friday, March 9, 2012

Short takes: Google pressures its developers to use Google Wallet; NYT issues update to streamline its mobile app; Greece reaches deal with banks over debt swap

Google is reportedly pressuring developers to begin using its own payment service, Google Wallet, rather than third party payment services such as PayPal. Apps that do not comply risk being through out of their app store, now called the Google Play store.

"They told people that if they used other payment services they would be breaking the terms of use," Si Shen, founder and chief executive of Papaya, told Reuters. "Whether it's right or wrong, we have to follow the rules."

Although Reuters got a big "no comment" from Google, The Verge was able to speak to someone at Google who claimed that this does not represent a change in policy, but merely enforcing the existing one. There was, however, no direct quote from Google used in their story.

The New York Times issued an app update to its iPhone app last night.

The app update appears minor as the app description simply states that the update reduces the amount of space the app will use on your device.

The fix may be necessitated by the increased content the newspaper has been adding to the app since it went to a paid model a year ago.

The price for the website and iPhone combination subscription remains at $14.99 per month, while the All Digital Access rate is at $34.99 per month.

Despite claims that Greece's efforts to get their private-sector creditors to agree to a debt swap was progressing, many financial commentators continued to use Greece as their whipping boy every time the market was lower. "Fears of a Greek default" is the newest meme for the age old truism that markets sometimes go up, and sometimes go down.

Today, the Greek government announced that they have a go-ahead that represents 85.8 percent of the 177bn euros worth of bonds.

"On behalf of Greece, I wish to express my appreciation to all the creditors that have supported our ambitious programme for reforms and adjustments and who have shared in the sacrifices of the Greek people in this historic effort," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said this morning in Athens.

Creditors are being asked to swap their existing bonds for newly issued one. Agreeing to the swap means that that creditor will lose 74 percent of the value of that bond. The risk, of course, is that if a debt swap were not to occur, the Greek government might default entirely, making those bonds completely worthless.

Debtors have until March 23 to agree to the swap, but now that so high a percentage of debtors have agreed it is assume the vast majority of debt holders will now come on board.