Google faces new antitrust lawsuit filed by U.S. attorneys general targeting Play Store commission
Looks like Google really hasn’t had time to catch its breath over the past few months as it continues to find itself in a new storm every month or so. Now the company has yet another lawsuit pending, as a coalition of attorneys general from 36 states and Washington, DC, decided to sue the tech giant, alleging it abused power and power. control it has on Android Play Store. The case was filed in the California Federal Court.
The lawsuit calls on Google to claim a commission of up to 30 percent on sales made by app developers on Google Play, through their apps. The way the company operates is fairly easy to understand, as contracts with app developers explicitly require them to sell their in-app products only using Google Billing as their “middleman”. This follows the recent expansion of the coverage of this commission policy, which resulted in many companies (which until then had successfully evaded tax), also fell under the blow. Defendants in this case include Google and parent company Alphabet, as well as their subsidiaries in Asia and Ireland.
The company had previously faced a similar lawsuit from Epic Games, the name of the hugely popular Fortnite game. The game maker had accused Google of driving the higher prices app makers charge customers as they continue to try to fight high commission cuts. He hadn’t encountered the desired traction, something the new AG suit might be able to overcome.
Attorneys General allege that through a number of market malfunctions, Google has managed to reduce effective competition between apps, which has resulted in less choice and innovation, and higher prices, weighing heavily on application users.
“Google has served as the guardian of the Internet for many years, but more recently it has also become the guardian of our digital devices, which has made us all pay more for the software we use every day.” , Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General, who is one of the leaders of the coalition, said of the lawsuit.
The new case becomes the fourth in a growing list of lawsuits filed against Google under US federal law alone. Of the three previous legal battles the company is currently engaged in, one has come directly from the US Department of Justice, which has accused the company of subjecting search ads to monopoly practices, by advertising its own products in the most visible way possible.
While the Play Store was not in the limelight for some time until fairly recently, the growing number of antitrust cases against rival Apple Inc. have also put Google’s Android App Store under scrutiny.
Numerous recent essays have raised questions about the legal and ethical implications of Google and Apple making their own app stores the default for their products. In addition, both companies have lowered the commission bar to 15% for small developers, in response to growing public mistrust.