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Google is facing new Android antitrust issues in Europe

Published Jun 17th, 2014 9:45PM EDT
Google Android Antitrust Issues

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The European Union, which is working on finishing up its investigation of Google’s Search business in Europe, may soon look into Google’s Android app store-related business practices, GigaOm reveals. Portugal’s Aptoide, an alternative Android app source that houses more than 200,000 titles and has more than 6 million active users, met with the European Commissions last week in preparation for its complaint submission.

Aptoide is apparently annoyed with Google for making the life of third-party Android app stores miserable. The company says that it can’t submit a fully functional third-party app store to the Google Play Store due to the non-compete clause that govern Google’s store.

Furthermore, the company says that Google has made it increasingly difficult in new Android OS versions for smartphone owners to find the settings that allow them to download apps from third parties. Aptoide says that starting with Android 4.0, only about 20% of users can figure out how to find the setting, compared to 80% of users being able to find it in Android 2.1.

Aptoide also complains about Google’s bundling policy that forces OEMs to install all Google mobile apps including the Play Store on a device, even though users may only want access to some of them.

Finally, Aptoide alleges that Google’s Chrome browser has been blocking the page of the Aptoide installer for four weeks, saying the page contains malware, even though the company tried to contact Google about it and prove the page does not have any kind of malware.

Aptoide says that the Chinese Android market, where the Google Play Store isn’t available as it’s replaced with many third-party stores, is proof that competition is possible in the Android apps business.

EU’s competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed he has received this Android-related complaint against Google, without revealing more details about it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.