Another “Market Abuse” Android Complaint Filed Against Google In Europe
European Commission already formally investigating Android maker.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) app developer Disconnect Inc. has formally complained to European regulators that Google is abusing control of Android. In April of this year, the European Commission opened a formal investigation into Android and related market abuse claims.
Disconnect makes privacy and security apps. The company says that Google removed its new app from Google Play because it allegedly “violated a policy prohibiting software that interferes with other apps,” according to the WSJ.
Disconnect focuses on protecting people from invisible tracking and sources of malware, and all too often these threats come in the form of advertising. In fact, some of the most privacy invasive data collection online happens through ads, which see you even if you don’t see or interact with them. And worse, ad networks (including Google) are increasingly being used by “advertisers” to spread malware.
Disconnect says that it believes Google mistook its app for an adblocker:
Although we may never know Google’s true motivation for removing our app, it seems likely that they determined it threatened their tracking and advertising based business model, which accounts for over 90% of Google’s $66 billion in estimated 2014 annual revenue. Put another way, we think Google mistook us for an adblocker.
Disconnect’s complaint extends to the notion that Google is tying the pre-installation of its own apps to use of Google Play by Android OEMs and that the company discriminates against competing third party apps, a claim Google vigorously denies. The question of tying is also at the center of the European investigation of Android. It was also a key question and issue in the much earlier European antitrust case against Microsoft over the IE browser.
Disconnect wants its app to be reinstated on Google Play (and perhaps some lost revenue). Google has denied there’s any merit to the claims Disconnect is making.
On the same day the European Commission launched its formal Android investigation the regulatory body filed its “Statement of Objections” against Google surrounding shopping search and so-called search bias.
Android is the world’s largest operating system with roughly 80 percent global smartphone market share today.