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Competing app store files antitrust complaint against Google
- Unofficial app store Aptoide filed an antitrust complaint against Google.
- Aptoide alleges that Google Play Protect flagged it as potentially harmful and prevented installations.
- Aptoide filed the complaint with the European Commission, which has an ongoing case against Google.
From F-Droid and the Amazon Appstore to Samsung Galaxy Apps, there is no shortage of alternatives to the Google Play Store. Aptoide, one such alternative app store, was recently flagged on the Play Store as a nefarious app. In response, this app store has now filed an antitrust complaint against Google as a result.
Reported by Bloomberg, Aptoide filed the complaint with the European Commission. Google Play Protect allegedly notified users that the program could download harmful apps and urged users to uninstall Aptoide from their devices.
Announced during Google I/O 2017, Google Play Protect is a security package for Android devices that consists of app scanning, browser protection, and anti-theft measures. Google Play Protect uses machine learning to scan apps before and after installation to make sure devices are kept secure.
According to Aptoide, the notification led to the program no longer working on devices and violated the European Union’s competition rules. Speaking with Bloomberg, Aptoide CEO Paulo Trezentos said Google’s behavior is “really aggresive” and refuted claims that the program is unsafe. Trezentos also claims Aptoide is one of the most secure app stores around.
Aptoide is already a lead complainant in an ongoing case against Google that could see the search giant hit with billions of dollars in fines. In the case, the European Commission alleged that Google pushed users to use its own services instead of competing services. As such, it is possible that Aptoide’s complaint gets folded into the European Commission’s case.
Whatever happens from here, Google has had bad luck in Europe in recent times. In June 2017, the European Commission fined Google a record $2.7 billion dollars over search results abuse. In April 2018, the European Parliament adopted a report which recommends that Google be restructured.
In May 2018, a privacy activist sued Google to the tune of $3.7 billion over alleged General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violations. It is still unclear how European officials plan to enforce the GDPR, though Europe continues to be a thorn in Google’s side.