It’s not just the iPhone: Google pulls apps from Android

Although Apple’s arbitrary and capricious censorship on the iPhone App Store has become legendary, even the most self-proclaimed open app platform on the market has to regulate itself sometimes.

As noted on and then confirmed by reader reactions, Google has pulled a few dozen Tetris clones from the Android Market after receiving a threatening letter from The Tetris Company.

Yes, there is actually an entire company devoted to protecting the rights of the classic puzzle game. It has targeted iPhone apps, freeware outlets, and online gaming portals that publish games that look and feel like Tetris.

In a cease and decist letter, Tetris Company attorneys wrote, “Google’s facilitation of the distribution, without permission, of ‘Tetris’ games is… in violation of trademark and unfair competition laws in the U.S. and throughout the world.” The letter goes on to say, “Accordingly, The Tetris Company demands that you immediately remove or disable access to the infringing content.”

One of the affected developers told Destructoid, “It’s a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users.”

Some of the removed titles had Tetris in the title, but others had no such reference. A search for “Tetris” on the Android Market will, however, still bring up many Tetris clones. It appears as though Google only pulled the titles specifically called out by The Tetris Company, which was clearly not all-inclusive.

There is an official version of Tetris on the Android Market as well, which publisher Electronic Arts sells for $4.99.