A recent lawsuit overseas suggests Google is exercising anti-competitive actions. The crux of the complaint has to do with Google strong-arming those app download portals that aren’t theirs, effectively placing a scarlet letter on anything that isn’t the Play Store. Part of the complaint asks that Google take smaller app portals under the Play Store umbrella, but should they?
The complaint, made by Paulo Trezentos, CEO of Aptoide, asks that sites like his be given an approval process by Google. He claims that Google is making it “more difficult” to install apps not on the Play Store, and Google should “allow other App Stores to be available in Google Play, giving the option to the user.” He went on to say even Google’s open source Chromium browser blocks access to sites like his, which generate 50 million downloads monthly.
This is similar to Google’s alleged Android Silver program, wherein Google is said to be “approving” devices like the HTC One (M8) or Galaxy S5 from Samsung for sale in carrier stores. Trezentos believes these programs benefit Android as a whole. Speaking specifically about his complaint, Trezentos said “Using anti-competition practices, it not only harms the consumer that will have fewer and more expensive options, but also the Android platform as a [whole].”
This would likely draw the ire of critics who don’t consider more inclusion to be open source. Those who don’t see Google’s management of Android as healthy would likely argue that cobbling all app portals into the Play Store would be both confusing, and be an end-around to anti-competitive practices. It could also be argued that any app wishing to be included would need to follow Play Store guidelines anyway, so why is this necessary?
More apps and inclusion don’t necessarily mean a stronger experience for the user, either. Google is not likely to gather app stores across the globe and include them into the Play Store, but would you want them to? Critics already find fault with search in the Play Store, and more apps wouldn’t help that.
Perhaps Trezentos is onto something, though. Is a more popular alternative (like Nokia has done) to Android needed, or even wanted? If Google is making it as difficult on customers as he says, maybe there is.