I was wondering when one of the Big Techs was going to be sued again but wasn’t expecting 30 states to do so at the same time. Google has been sued by more than 30 states all of which accuse them of having an illegal monopoly via its Play Store platform. Play Store is an online platform where developers can publish their apps after being vetted by Google, for a price, and Google being the owner can dictate the terms.
The states accuse Google of abusing its power over developers and eliminating competition but controlling how people download and pay for apps on their Google devices. According to the suit which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, “Google uses anti-competitive barriers and mandates to protect its monopoly power”. The suit was filed this Wednesday and brought together by 36 states which include California, Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, the District of Columbia, and New York.
This lawsuit put together with the other ones means that Google has now four lawsuits filed against it. Each lawsuit targeting a part of their business that the Justice Department to attorneys general deems anti-competitive. The most well-known of which is the commission Google and other companies take from developers whenever customers make purchases. This commission is usually 30% and developers push that on to the customers.
Pretty sure this all came to light back when Epic Store filed a lawsuit against Apple for their Apple Store policies. Epic tried to circumvent Apple’s 30% commission in Fortnite by making their own in-app payment system which led to Fortnite being banned from the App Store. This lawsuit is pretty much the same as it does point to Google’s fees and how it sucks profit out of developers and raises prices for consumers.
The suit states that “To collect and maintain this extravagant commission, Google has employed anticompetitive tactics to diminish and disincentivize competition in Android app distribution. Google has not only targeted potentially competing app stores but also has ensured that app developers themselves have no reasonable choice but to distribute their apps through the Google Play Store”.
In response to the suit, Google’s Senior Director of Public Policy, Wilson White made a blog post that emphasized the fact that Google allows sideloading and the installation of third-party app stores on their devices.
White wrote that “This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers. It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it. Doing so risks raising costs for small developers, impeding their ability to innovate and compete, and making apps across the Android ecosystem less secure for consumers”.