US sues Google for app store monopoly


File photo: A Google logo is displayed at one of the company’s office complexes in Irvine, Calif. July 27, 2020

Google dismisses charges in lawsuit as unfounded

Dozens of US states joined forces in a lawsuit filed Wednesday accusing Google of abusing its power when it comes to obtaining apps for Android mobile devices.

The litigation over the online store Play Store for apps and other digital content for Android smartphones comes as the power of big tech companies faces increasing pressure from regulators and lawsuits.

“We are filing this lawsuit to end Google’s illegal monopoly power and finally give voice to millions of consumers and business owners.” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, a litigation leader.

“The company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users are turning to Google, and only Google, for the millions of apps they can choose to download to their phones and tablets.”

The lawsuit backed by 37 attorneys general accuses Google of using anti-competitive tactics to discourage the distribution of Android apps to stores other than its Play Store, where its payment system collects transaction commissions.

Google dismissed the charges in the lawsuit as unfounded, detailing ways the Play Store has helped app makers thrive while keeping users of Android devices safe.

Read also – Google hit by a third antitrust lawsuit

“Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that other platforms just don’t,” Google Senior Director of Public Policy Wilson White said.

“The complaint is peppered with inflammatory language designed to distract from the fact that our rules on Android and Google Play benefit consumers.”

The lawsuit argues that Google has inserted itself as the “intermediary” between application developers and consumers.

Meanwhile, a verdict is awaited in a federal lawsuit in which Fortnite maker Epic Games accused Apple of abusing the monopoly power of its App Store.

Apple tightly controls the App Store, which is the only gateway for apps or other content to access iPhones and other devices powered by iOS software.

In contrast, people with Android mobile devices can get apps from sites other than the Play Store.

A similar coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit in December accusing Google of exercising monopoly power over online search and associated advertising.

Read also – France fines Google 220 million euros for online advertising domination

Attorneys General are calling on the court to loosen Google’s grip on the Play Store and give up the “unfair profits” that the Silicon Valley giant has made there through ads, purchases or other means.

The state’s case against Google concerns app developers, who likely would not have had mass distribution and profits without the Play Store’s extended distribution benefit, who want to change the rules halfway. “said Jessica Melugin, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. .

“Not only are there other alternatives already available for downloading these apps to Android devices, but consumers benefit from the security, privacy and convenience of centralized payment systems.”

A US congressional panel in June proposed legislation that would lead to a radical overhaul of antitrust laws and give regulators more power to dismantle big tech companies, specifically targeting Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.

The shares come amid growing concerns about the power of big tech companies, which have increasingly dominated key economic sectors and have grown steadily during the pandemic.

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