Google's legal troubles in Europe continue as a European Commission court has accepted an injunction filed by alternative app store Aptoide. The antitrust complaint came after Google used Play Protect to warn users that Aptoide was potentially harmful.

It further emerges that Google Play Protect was even removing the app store from phones without users' knowledge. Apparently, as many as 2.2 million users have been affected in the last 60 days. Google will have to stop these actions against the app, and Aptoide will now able to pursue hefty damages.

Aptoide CEO Paulo Trezentos says that Google is "abusing [its] dominant position in Android to eliminate App Store competitors." And according to Carlos Nestal of the legal team, this is the first instance of a court enforcing new regulatory rules set out in the wake of the record EU antitrust fine Google received this summer, and we could see more cases of this kind in the near future. We've reached out to Google for comment.

Press Release

EU National Court rules against Google in Anti-Trust process

Lisbon, October 19th, 2018

The Portuguese Courts issued today a decision against Google in relation to the injunction filed by
Aptoide. It is applicable on 82 countries including UK, Germany, USA, India, among others. Google
will have to stop Google Play Protect from removing the competitor Aptoide’s app store from users’
phone without users’ knowledge which has caused losses of over 2.2 million users in the last 60
days.

The acceptance of the injunction is totally aligned with Aptoide’s claim for Google to stop
hiding the app store in the Android devices and showing warning messages to the users.
Aptoide is now working alongside its legal team to next week fill in courts the main action,
demanding from Google indemnity for all the damages caused.

This action is part of a complaint against foul play by Google, directed to Android’s
antivirus software, Google Play Protect. Google's anti-malware system was wrongly
identifying Aptoide as a potentially malicious app, hiding and uninstalling it from Android
smartphones without user consent.

Aptoide, with over 250 million users, 6 billion downloads and one of the top stores globally,
also presented last July, a formal complaint to the European Union’s anti-trust departments
against Google.

Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide’s CEO, says that “For us, this is a decisive victory. Google has been
a fierce competitor, abusing his dominant position in Android to eliminate App Store
competitors. Innovation is the reason for our 200 million users base. This court’s decision is
a signal for startups worldwide: if you have the reason on your side don’t fear to challenge
Google.”

According to Carlos Nestal, head of the legal team that worked in the case:

“This case, to our knowledge, is the first of an EU national Court that enforces a clear
separation of Android layer and the Services layer. Court is clearly stating that Google's
control of the Operating System cannot be used as a competitive advantage in the Services
market. We believe this may apply to other situations where Google has competition.”