Developer Accuses Google of Blacklisting App for Speaking to Antitrust Investigators

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA - MAY 07: Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California. The annual Google I/O Conference runs through May 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Blix, the developers of the “BlueMail” app, alleges that Google removed their email app from its mobile Play Store just days after the developer revealed that they were cooperating with a House antitrust investigation of the tech giant.

The Wall Street Journal reports that tech giant Google removed the “BlueMail” email app from its Google Play Store on Friday after it had been available to Android smartphone users for years. The Play Store is Google’s version of Apple’s App Store for Android devices and is where most Android users download apps and games.

The founders of Blix, the software development company that makes BlueMail, allege that the move was retaliation for the company cooperating with House lawmakers who questioned Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a landmark antitrust hearing last week.

Blix co-founder Ben Volach said in an interview: “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.” The Blix co-founders revealed that they had been cooperating with House lawmakers last week, the developers allege that they have never had any disagreements with Google but did previously sue Apple for patent infringement and antitrust violations when the company released an email product very similar to Blix and removed its app from the Mac App Store.

“Apple and Google have no respect for their partners, and they have too much control over our business. It stifles innovation and tells developers that it’s not safe to bring innovation to the store,” said Volach.

Blix founders stated that they began receiving emails last Friday from customers asking why the app had been removed, some took to Twitter and Facebook to complain about the issue. Blix then received an explanation from Google alleging that BlueMail had copied another app. Blix’s founders directly asked Google whether it was retaliation for cooperating with the investigation but received no response.

Dan Volach, who co-founded the company with his brother, stated: “Google either suspended BlueMail because we helped the House Antitrust Subcommittee prepare for the hearings or because Google just launched a competitor to Blix.” Google recently announced a new feature in which its Gmail client and chat service will be integrated, a move which the Volachs say closely mirrors how BlueMail works.

“Regardless, the fact that they have the power to kick you out of the store and cut your revenue stream with no notice is nothing short of absurd,” Dan Volach stated. Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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