Google has removed Disconnect Mobile from Play Store after it found the app violated a policy that does not allow apps to interfere with other apps.
In the official Disconnect blog, co-founder Casey of the company defended the app. "[W]e took every precaution with our new app not to utilize any technology that wasn't clearly documented and actively supported by Google. The banned app utilizes the VpnService API that has been made publicly available by Google since at least 2011. Thousands of other applications utilize the same API."
Disconnect emphasized that its Android app is not an ad-blocker. It simply prevents users' information from invisible tracking and malware. Since these threats come in the form of ads and advertisers using them to spread malware, the privacy app intervenes to protect end users, the company said.
Oppenheim said the app's removal from Play Store was because it interfered with Google's bread and butter.
"[I]t seems likely that they determined it threatened their tracking and advertising based business model, which accounts for over 90% of Google's $66 billion in estimated 2014 annual revenue," Oppenheim added.
As Wall Street Journal puts it, "Interference was precisely the point of Disconnect Mobile," but getting in the way of Google's major source of income has yielded miserable results. Google has also banned other apps that perform similar ad-blocking functions like Adblock Plus, which was removed in March 2013.
Disconnect Mobile was growing popular for its extensive functionalities useful for end-users. The app surpassed 5,000 downloads in just five days from launch. The developing firm behind the app, Disconnect, said the company carefully built Disconnect Mobile in compliance with Google's Play Store policies. The company said Google's vague policies can result in the removal of just any app from the Play Store.
Disconnect silently launched an identical mobile app on Apple's App Store a few weeks ago, it is the top grossing Utility app on iTunes.