Google LLC has been sued by 36 US states and Washington DC alleging that the tech major’s control over its Android app store violates antitrust laws.
In a filing, a bipartisan coalition of 37 attorneys general accused the company for illegally maintaining app store monopolies, and unfairly edging out competition in the mobile app distribution and in-app payment processing markets.
The search engine giant is allegedly requiring app developers selling in-app digital content through apps purchased through Google’s Play Store to use Google Billing as a middleman. With this, the app consumers have to pay Google’s commission, which is up to 30 percent, indefinitely.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is co-leading the coalition, has filed the second antitrust lawsuit in six months to end Google’s illegal monopolies.
According to James, Google has deprived Android device users of robust competition that could lead to greater choice and innovation, as well as significantly lower prices for mobile apps. The company is allegedly using its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions.
Google had launched its Android Operating System or OS, originally marketing it as an “open source” platform. The lawsuit now alleges that for many years Google has not allowed Android to serve as an “open source”, effectively cutting off potential competition.
In a statement, James said, “Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google, and only Google, for the millions of applications they may choose to download to their phones and tablets. …We are filing this lawsuit to end Google’s illegal monopoly power and finally give voice to millions of consumers and business owners.”
In December last year, Attorney General James co-led a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general in a separate antitrust lawsuit against Google for its monopoly in the general search services and search advertising markets.
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