Google has taken the audacious (and laudable) step to unilaterally remove all ad blocking apps from Google Play Store, a move which one major player, Adblock Plus, describes as “threatening consumer choice”.
The reason Google puts forward to explain its decision is that these applications violated Google Play’s Developer Distribution Agreement.
The document clearly stipulates that developers should not "engage in any activity with the market, including the development or distribution of products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party."
In other words, Google has taken a very firm stance towards anyone who tries to interfere with advertising which is still by and large the main source of revenue for the company.
One of the bigger players to be affected by Google’s decision to crack down on ad blockers is Adblock Plus. Its co-founder, Till Faida, said in a statement “I realise that advertising revenue is important to Google, but understand that Adblock Plus does not automatically block all ads; we simply allow users the choice whether to block ads or whitelist them. We even encourage advertising that is done appropriately and conforms to an Acceptable Ads policy, which is debated and decided in an open public forum”.
Interestingly he also listed how Google seems to be systematically targeting Adblock Plus which is the most popular browser add-on, having been downloaded more than 200 million times already. Neither Apple or Microsoft allow adblocking apps on their respective marketplaces.
One wonders what would happen if Google and the rest of the browser market decide to actively ban adblocking altogether.