On Wednesday, thirty-seven US states’ furious district attorney generals sued Alphabet Inc’s Google on the allegation that the company bought off competitors and uses restrictive contracts to unlawfully maintain a monopoly for its app store on Android phones.
The allegations stem from an investigation involving nearly every US state that began in September 2019 and has already resulted in three other lawsuits against the company. These cases threaten to force major changes in terms of advertising, in-app purchases, and smart home gadgets.
Google stated that the litigation was about boosting a handful of major app developers that want preferential treatment rather than helping small businesses or consumers. It also maintains that Android support competitors to Play Store unlike Apple Inc with its App Store.
The company said in blog post, “Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that other platforms simply don’t.”
The states of Utah, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee argue that Google has made enormous profit margins from Play Store by engaging in illegal tactics to preserve monopolies in selling Android apps and in-app goods. In the US, Google Play accounts for 90% of Android apps downloaded.
The lawsuit stated, “Google leverages its monopoly power with Android to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in the Android app distribution market.”
Google already had lawsuits against it for its actions to promote its services with mobile carriers and smartphones makers, but the fresh new claims happened after reviewing internal company documents. The states accuse the company that it bought off developers and that through numerous secret projects, it intended to pay Samsung Electronics Co whose rival app store posed the biggest threat, but Samsung declined to comment.
Utah attorney general, Sean Reyes, said in a statement, “Google Play is not fair play. It must stop using its monopolistic power and hyper-dominant market position to unlawfully leverage billions of added dollars from smaller companies, competitors and consumers beyond what should be paid.”
The states want the consumers to receive their money back. In addition, they want to stop Google’s payments to Samsung and developers while calling for civil penalties and a court-imposed monitor obto Google.