GOOGLE FACES yet another antitrust wrangle in Europe after a company filed a complaint with regulators alleging that Google is abusing Android's dominance in the region.
The complaint, which comes as Europe deepens its probe into Google's Android operating system, was made by Disconnect, a startup founded by ex-Googlers to build software that blocks ads and other third-party services that track users or potentially release malware.
The Disconnect app was booted from the Google Play store last year after Google said that it interfered with other apps.
Disconnect argued that this wasn't the reason behind the Google Play ban, however, and instead shows Google abusing its market position.
"Disconnect charges Google with abusing its dominant market position by banning Disconnect's app, a revolutionary technology that protects users from invisible tracking and malvertising, malware served through advertisements," the company told TechCrunch.
Google hit out at the complaint, and said in a statement that the app was in clear breach of its Google Play guidelines.
"This reported claim is baseless. Our Google Play policies (specifically clause 4.4) have long prohibited apps that interfere with other apps (such as by altering their functionality, or removing their way of making money)," a spokesperson for the company said.
"We apply this policy uniformly, and Android developers strongly support it. All apps must comply with these policies and there are over 200 privacy apps available in Google Play that do."
Disconnect has complained about Google before, and last year's ban was the second time that the app had been thrown out of the Play store.
Casey Oppenheim, Disconnect co-founder and CEO, said at the time: "Google is in such a dominant market position on mobile that their decision to ban legitimate apps from Android amounts to internet censorship.
"Google has intentionally made distributing and monetising apps outside the Play store overly difficult, which is the subject of an active antitrust investigation in the European Union.
"This position is unacceptable and will hopefully inspire regulators in the US and elsewhere to get involved and protect consumers from Google.
"In the meantime, we've been asking ourselves what we can do to get Google to re-commit to their mission of doing no evil." µ
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