22 August 2019
Portugal-based Aptoide has accused Google of playing unfair with third-party Android app stores including its own offering with the same name. It has set up a dedicated website named Google, Play Fair explaining the whole situation from its point of view. It mentions steps taken by Google and why those steps are wrong for a healthy competition.
Aptoide has claimed that since the start of summer 2018, Google is making use of Play Protect to warn users about using Aptoide by deeming it as a harmful app. It not only offers a warning pop-up but also hides the Aptoide app from the app list and recommends uninstallation of the application. For those who don't know, Play Protect is a native anti-malware solution from Google and is available on every Android device running any of the recent Android versions. It automatically performs regular scans of the device to check for any harmful apps regardless of whether they were installed from the Play Store or via APK.
In the defense of its app, Aptoide has said that independent research done by a Japanese university has revealed that its app store has the lowest rate of malware. It has further added VirusTotal has cleared their APK as free of any malware. Lastly, it makes the point that when Google was asked about reasons behind labeling their app as harmful, it did not receive any reply.
It further refers to Google's recent encounter with antitrust lawsuits around the world. One of these is the most widely reported European Union lawsuit where Google was slapped with a record fine and was asked to make relevant changes to its apps. All in all, Aptoid has a firm belief that its app is being flagged as harmful to make sure that there is no competition for the Google Play Store.
Google is yet to offer any statement in response to Aptoide's claims and the website. On another hand, Aptoid is recommending users to disable Play Protect by visiting Play Store settings if they are not able to use the app. This is something we would not recommend you to as doing so would put you at risk of not discovering other malware-ridden apps that you might have installed by mistake.