4

Can App stores remove specific apps at their discretion? Or do they have to set forth rules about what is allowed and then follow those rules?

One thing tells me that it is their store, so they can do as they please. After all, if I had my store I would like to have total control over it.

However, they have terms, and other companies might put millions into developing something according Google's terms, but that Google might not like and want to kick out after some time. So what can happen in this case? Can the company take legal action against Google for removing something by proving that it is not against any law or their terms of service?

It is worth noting that Google reserves the right to change terms at any time.

3

You are making an argument along the lines of promissory estoppel, but this requires reliance on a promise (roughly).

From Google's Developer Distribution Agreement:

Google reserves the right to suspend and/or bar any Developer from the Store at its sole discretion.

From Apple's iOS Developer Program Agreement:

You understand and agree that Apple may, in its sole discretion, reject Your Application for distribution for any reason

Apple and its licensors reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any services at any time.

Neither company makes any representation or promise that a developer will have the right to distribute their product through these official stores.

It is irrelevant that an app happens to not violate any terms of the agreement. Even if you demonstrated this, distribution of an app through the official stores is at the sole discretion of Apple and Google.

2

Can App stores remove/have exceptions about what is allowed or not as they please?

Yes, they can, because they're businesses, not public services. Both Apple and Google have clear, legally binding TOS statements that outline your participation in their businesses: I.e., Google's: http://play.google.com/intl/en_us/about/play-terms.html

It is worth noting that Google reserves the right to change terms at any time.

Of course they can, and they do from time to time. That's part of the TOS you agree to: "Changes to these Terms." Any App developer, game dev, musician, etc., who wants to be on Play has to abide by every line Google's TOS. It's a contract.

However, they have terms, and other companies might put millions into developing something according Google's terms, but that Google might not like and want to kick out after some time.

It is solely that business's choice to put millions into developing something in an attempt to get that product in Google Play. Google is not obligated in any way to accept anything into Play, no matter the money or the business involved.

Can the company take legal action against Google for removing something by proving that it is not against any law or their terms of service?

Sure, you can take Google to court for disallowing a product from Play or removing an accepted product from Play. You will need to prove via a preponderance of evidence that the product does not violate any points in the TOS. How much money do you have to fight Google?

  • 1
    I'm not even sure if you would win if you did nothing against the TOS, because "Google reserves the right to suspend and/or bar any Developer from the Store at its sole discretion". Similar for Apple. – gnasher729 Aug 28 '17 at 13:30

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