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Third-party Android app store sues Google for 'anti-competitive' practices

EC to investigate Google's dominance
Wed Jun 18 2014, 13:56

Android logoA PORTUGESE APP STORE for the Android mobile operating system has filed an anti-competitive practices lawsuit against Google.

Apotoide, which claims to have six million unique users every month, wants to form an alliance of third-party app stores to counter Google's dominance of the Android app market.

The company claimed that Google uses its commanding position in order to create obstacles to third-party app stores.

Apotoide CEO Paullo Trezentos told the Wall Street Journal, "We are struggling to grow, even to survive, in the face of Google systematically setting up obstacles for users to install third-party app stores in the Android platform and blocking competition in their Google Play store."

"App Stores can be very interesting and Google is assuring that it controls 100 percent of that Apps distribution channel," he added. "Using anti-competition practices, it not only harms the consumer that will have fewer and more expensive options, but also the Android platform as a [whole]."

Mr Trezentos's company believes that Google's use of Google Play Services, which provides some essential infrastructure to the Android system and is co-dependent on the Play Store, prevents other app retailers from gaining footholds in the market.

It also accused the company of blocking access to the Apotoide website from the Chrome web browser. The Android mobile operating system requires users to opt-in to using third-party apps and app stores, a process known as "sideloading".

EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia has confirmed that the EU is already considering an investigation into dominance of the Android app market, but nothing formal has been announced. 

Google has yet to respond to the accusations. 

Despite the desire of third parties to offer Android apps from their own stores, Android's reputation as a malware target is significant, with 99 percent of mobile malware being aimed at Google's mobile operating system, most of which are sideloaded apps. µ


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