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Alternative app store Aptoide calls for Google to 'play fair'

Alternative app store Aptoide claims Google Play Protect is blocking its installation on various devices.

Published onJune 5, 2019

Aptoide store on a smartphone.


Aptoide store on a smartphone.

One of the best things about Android is the ability to install apps from anywhere, allowing you to side-step the Play Store if you want to. Now, one prominent third-party app store has launched a campaign against Google, saying the Mountain View company is hampering consumer freedom.

On its Google Play Fair website, Aptoide wrote: “Since summer 2018, Google Play Protect flags Aptoide as a harmful app, hiding it in users’ Android devices and requesting them to uninstall it. Google Play Protect is Google’s built-in malware protection software for Android, but we believe the way it works damages users’ rights.”

The company says the move “eliminates” healthy competition.

The team has disputed Google’s move, citing a study by a Japanese university that found Aptoide’s content is the safest. It also claimed that major anti-virus firms haven’t found malware on its store, adding that Google hasn’t given a reason for it being flagged as a harmful app.

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A photo of the Play Store showing free and paid apps

For what it’s worth, Aptoide also hosts more than a few pirated games and apps. Some of the more prominent ones we’ve spotted include the Monument Valley series, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Minecraft. It’s unclear whether this could be the reason for Google apparently blocking the app. It’s also worth noting that a colleague and I were able to install Aptoide just fine on our phones.

We’ve contacted Aptoide and Google for comment regarding the matter and will update the article when we receive a response from the companies.

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