Google hit with new EU complaint over alleged abusive app store behavior

Portuguese app store firm Aptoide hit Google with a European Union (EU) complaint alleging abusive practices by the search giant.

Aptoide argues that Google is using its dominance of the Android operating system to control the European app store market through bundling of its application programming interface (API) services with its own app store, Google Play. The app store firm charges that Google regularly suspends Aptoide from appearing on Google Play, depriving the firm of access to consumers.

"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," says Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide's co-founder and CEO.

Google declined to comment on Aptoide's allegations.

The complaint from Aptoide follows a complaint filed by a group of high-tech firms against Google with the EU over anticompetitive behavior in the mobile apps marketplace. Filed by FairSearch last year, a group of 17 high-tech firms that include Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle, alleges that Google uses its dominance in the mobile OS and mobile search advertising markets to lock out competition in the mobile marketplace, FierceMobileIT reported.

"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," charged Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition. "Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google's Android operating system," he added.

While the EU has not opened a formal investigation into Google and the Android OS, EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said that his agency is mulling such a probe, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agency is currently conducting a preliminary probe, a spokesman tells the Journal.

For more:
- see the Aptoide release
- check out the FairSearch complaint
- read the Journal report (sub. req.)

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