BlueMail developer Blix woke up to their email app having been removed from the Play Store this morning, stating there was no notice from Google.
The developers are stating that they believe this is retaliation on Google's part. Earlier in the week, BlueMail developer Blix revealed it had been working with antitrust investigators looking into Google. The hearing is about investigating Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook over anticompetitive practices.
Now BlueMail has been kicked off the Play Store. And the suspicion is that it was removed as a reaction to Blix speaking with lawmakers. Wednesday's hearing saw Google face a fair amount of questions into the claims of its anticompetitive practices.
One could assume that Google's decision was brought on by another matter. But Blix says it doesn't think that's the case.
BlueMail devs said they've never had a problem with Google before
The reason Blix thinks this has something to do with it working with investigators is because of its history in working with Google.
Blix has developed for Android for over six years now. In that time, it says that it's never had any disagreements with Google over anything. So it doesn't think that any past violations could be the reason for the BlueMail app removal.
Initially Google hadn't given any reasons as to why the app was taken off the Play Store. However, The Washington Post reports that Google stated it would look into the matter. it then later provided a vague response to Blix.
Google says BlueMail had copied another app
After the initial email that BlueMail was removed, Blix received an answer that sort of explains the situation and reasoning.
According to Google's follow-up response, BlueMail had copied another application that was on the Play Store. That's the whole response though. No explanation of which app was copied and how BlueMail had copied it.
So for the time being Blix is still in the dark about what the true reason might be. Blix Co-Founder Ben Volach says that if retaliation for helping the antitrust investigators isn't the issue, then he believes that Google launched a similar app.
While Google hasn't launched any new email apps, it did recently add a feature to Gmail which is apparently similar to BlueMail's. This feature revolves around Gmail's newly added integration of Google Chat to the Android and iOS apps.
Something which BlueMail sort of offers as its functionality in this aspect is similar to what Gmail now offers to its G Suite users.
A Google spokesperson reached out to us and provided this comment on the situation.
"It’s completely false that we retaliated in any way against this developer. As part of our ongoing policy enforcement process, this app was flagged for similarities to the TypeApp mail app. As we always do when we find issues, we notified Blix and reached out to them to better understand the situation, and after a thorough review we have now reinstated the app."