Play Store competitor Aptoide filed an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Commission’s competition watchdog, accusing the Alphabet-owned technology giant of unjustifiably preventing its service from working on a number of Android devices and hence exhibiting monopolistic behavior. The antivirus mechanisms implemented into Google’s operating system for smartphones and tablets inhibit the core functionality of the Aptoide app in certain scenarios and break the European Union’s competition laws in the process of doing so, the complaint reads.
Aptoide specifically protested against Google Play Protect, the company’s solution for protecting Android devices against potentially malicious apps, both those downloaded through the firm’s own digital marketplace and other sources. The service has been prompting users to uninstall Aptoide via notifications, repeatedly warning them that the app could be used for downloading malicious software, i.e. other apps. Those who ignored what the complainant deems were baseless warnings soon found themselves unable to use Aptoide at all, as per the same filing. Neither Google nor the political bloc’s authorities have yet commented on the matter in any capacity, though the move itself comes shortly before the European Commission is set to issue a first-instance ruling on its antitrust case against Google’s Android practices. Over the last three years, the regulators on the Old Continent were investigating whether Google has been abusing Android’s dominance in the mobile space to push its own apps at a direct expense of rivaling solutions, thus breaching antitrust law.
While competition authorities in the EU were set to be briefed on the matter this Tuesday, the meeting ended up being postponed by a week in an effort to avoid any potential conflicts with U.S. President Trump who’s presently visiting Europe, sources claimed earlier this week. Google was already hit with a historic $2.7 billion penalty over monopolistic behavior related to its shopping comparison service a year ago and is presently also being investigated by the EU over similar accusations pertaining to the manner in which it used the dominance of its advertising platform AdSense to crush smaller rivals, primarily by insisting websites cannot use its service in conjunction with competing solutions.