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Portuguese apps rival accuses Google of anti-competitive behavior

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Portuguese app store Aptoide has urged EU watchdogs to take action against Google Inc for allegedly blocking rivals in the multi-billion-dollar mobile applications market.

Apps are big business for Google and rival Apple Inc, with the market valued as much as $25 billion according to analysts. Google's Play store and Apple's App Store are two of the largest in the mobile industry.

Aptoide Chief Executive Paulo Trezentos said in a statement Google wasn't playing fair in the mobile app industry and the company had taken its grievance to the EU's competition watchdog.

"We are only asking the Commission to restore fair competition in the market, so we can compete on our own merits," said Aptoide Chief Operating Officer Alvaro Pinto.

Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani confirmed receipt of the complaint but declined further comment. Google spokesman Al Verney did not respond to several emails and phone calls seeking comment.

Google, the world's most popular Internet search engine, agreed a deal earlier this year to settle a three-year probe by the European Commission into its online search results, without incurring a fine.

But it also faces the possibility of another investigation as regulators weigh the merits of a complaint by lobbying group FairSearch, accusing Google of using its smartphone operating system Android to divert traffic to its search engine.

FairSearch members include Microsoft Corp and Nokia Oyj.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Holmes)

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