Google allegedly retaliated against a developer over antitrust investigation cooperation

Google has been accused of kicking the BlueMail, a popular Android email app, off the Play Store in retaliation for the developers’ cooperation with Congress’ antitrust investigation of the company, the developers alleged.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday:

The founders of Blix, the maker of the “BlueMail” app, say they believe the move was retaliation for their outspokenness on antitrust issues. They said Google had not previously warned them about the move.

“We have been developing for the Google Play Store for more than six years, but we woke up this morning to find ourselves kicked out with no notice,” Blix co-founder Ben Volach said in an interview Friday.

Google spokesman Dan Jackson said he would look into the issue but did not immediately comment on Blix’s removal from the app store.

According to the report, Blix said that Google claimed BlueMail had copied another app, but the company didn’t believe the stated reason, arguing it was a pretext.

“Google either suspended BlueMail because we helped the House Antitrust Subcommittee prepare for the hearings or because Google just launched a competitor to Blix,” Co-founder Dan Volach told the Post.

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Google, alongside Apple, Amazon, and Facebook faced a grilling from Congress on Wednesday regarding market practices. The questioning revolved around the company’s ad practices and data collection, it did not extend into the Play Store’s administration. If Blix was punished for cooperating with investigators, it’s unlikely Congress would look favorably on the company, however.

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