U.S Regulators are arming themselves to start yet another antitrust probe of Google. Meanwhile, the complaint box is getting filled up with app developers and others accusing Google of using its dominant position to kill competition. Portugal-based Aptoide is one such app that claims to be affected by Google’s actions.
Aptoide is an alternate marketplace that allows users to install apps on their Android phones. The company had first filed EU antitrust complaint against Google in 2014 and was accompanied by other companies crying foul over Google’s practices. Thankfully, the EU intervened and slapped Google a staggering fine of $5BN.
Competitors claim that Google has not mended its ways, despite the fine by EU regulators. For instance, in the case of Aptoide, Google flagged the app as harmful and started hiding it on users Android devices. In some cases, Android also requested users to uninstall the app. This apparently caused a 20% decline in the revenue for Aptoide. Furthermore, they also claim that Google is making it harder to gain traction or get new users to its ecosystem.
The folks at Apitoide are retracting, in fact, they have hosted a website named “googleplayfair.com.” The website explains in detail how Google is hurting its prospects by using unethical means. Moreover, the makers of Apitoide claim that Google has been suspending its app from users phones without their permission and without a valid reason.
Aptoide is considered safe both by security researchers [citing a paper by Japanese security researchers] and by Virus Total (a company owned by Google),” says Trezentos, adding: “Google is removing Aptoide from users phone only due to anticompetitive practices. Doesn’t want anyone else as a distribution channel in Android.
The worst part is that the user cannot choose to override the app. If they click on ‘keep app (unsafe)’ even then the app will not work, as it is blocked by Google. According to the app publisher, the move is not justified. It is interesting to see how the U.S Antitrust probe against major tech companies will proceed and the results it has in store.