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Google is, once again, facing anti-trust issues in Europe

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 Androidapp 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.

Google is abusing its dominance in the Android app distribution market to shut out rivals, the independent app store provider Aptoide has argued in an antitrust complaint to the European Commission. According to Portugal’s Aptoide, which claims to be the largest independent Android app store with 200,000 titles and 6 million active users, Google has made it difficult or impossible in multiple ways for Android users to choose alternative app stores. CEO Paulo Trezentos told me the company had a meeting with European Commission representatives last week in preparation for the complaint’s submission, but those representatives didn’t give Aptoide any feedback at the time, in line with protocol. According to Aptoide, the fact that the Play Store isn’t available in China shows how competitive the app store market can be in its absence – in that country, there are hundreds of viable Android app stores vying for users’ attention. Of course, she who runs the app store gets to play gatekeeper and take a cut of revenues, and this space is going to be absolutely crucial to watch in the coming years (this is where Facebook is muscling past Google on Android phones in developing markets, for instance.)

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