A European court has ruled against Google in a landmark case brought by Portuguese app store Aptoide, Reuters reports.
The US tech giant was ordered to stop removing the Aptoide app from users’ mobile phones without their knowledge, according to the report.
“This court’s decision is a signal for startups worldwide,” Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide’s chief executive, was quoted as saying. “If you have reason on your side don’t fear to challenge Google.”
Aptoide’s lawyer Carlos Nestal said it was the first case of an EU national court enforcing separation of the Android operating system and services that run on it, to allow competitors like Aptoide to compete with Google apps.
“We believe this may apply to other situations where Google has competition,” Nestal said.
Aptoide said in a statement that the court decision is applicable in 82 countries, including the UK and India.
The European Commission hit Google with a record 4.34 billion euro fine in July for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals.
Aptoide made its first complaint to the EU Directorate-General for Competition in 2014, being one of the original complainants in the Android case.
To comply with an EU order to stop anti-competitive practices, Google last week revamped how it distributes its mobile apps in the European Union, introducing a licensing fee for device makers to access its app marketplace.
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