Here we go again! Google is once again being accused of anti-competitive behavior in Europe. This time, however, it’s because of its Android operating system for mobile devices. The company is already struggling to settle another case regarding its dominance of the online search world.
On Monday, the European Union regulators received a complaint from Aptoide, a company from Portugal that handles a marketplace for mobile apps. The app store owner claims that Google has been using its dominant position in the smartphone market to push users away from rival marketplaces and towards Google Play.
“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,” said Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide co-founder and CEO, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company claims to have some six million unique monthly users and wants to join forces with other independent app stores in order to fight against Google.
Google refused to comment on the issue, while the European Commission adopted a similar stance.
It is not exactly a surprise that Google’s Android mobile operating system attracted such negative attention considering the fact that more than three quarters of the world’s mobile devices run it.
Google has been trying to work through a series of antitrust accusations, both in the United States and in Europe. Having such a dominant position in the world of tech has both advantages and disadvantages, it seems.
When it comes to the mobile app stores however, Google has its reasons to limit third-party handles of Android apps since they would take the brunt of complaints if a problematic app ruins the mobile OS and the user has to restore the factory settings. At the very least, Google is sure, for the most part, about the apps it lets on the store.
However, it is true that Google makes it a bit too difficult to install third-party app stores. For instance, in Aptoide’s case, you can’t find the app store installer in Google Play. Instead, you have to manually download the APK from their site and install it on your phone separately.
If no one knows about this company, then no one will download the file, especially when you have to do more than click twice on a button in the Play Store.
Ultimately, the only thing that Aptoide could obtain if the European Commission decides in its favor is the possibility for Google to host its installer in the Play Store, which would instantly give it more visibility. Such a decision would not only apply to this Portuguese company, but to other third-party app stores as well.