36 states and the District of Columbia (US capital Washington) sued Google on July 7 as part of an antitrust lawsuit challenging the company's control of its Google Play app store. More than 30 US states have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant for an alleged antitrust violation on an Android app store and monopoly in the market for Android applications.
According to Politico, the lawsuit was filed in California federal court. The state authorities pointed out that the corporation holds 90% of the market for Android apps, and no other app store for Android devices has a market share of more than 5%. Plaintiffs are also trying to challenge a 30% commission for app developers on any sale of digital goods and services on Google Play.
The complaint says that while Google allows other app stores to be used, the search giant has taken steps to hinder the popularity of other app stores. For example, they cannot be downloaded through the Google Play store, which is pre-installed on all Android smartphones. The plaintiffs also accuse Google of downgrading third-party app stores in search results and preventing other app stores from buying ads on its search engine or on the popular video service YouTube, a Google division.
It is noted that the United States is trying to hold the company accountable for potential violations of antimonopoly laws for the third time. Last year, the US Department of Justice and 14 states filed a lawsuit against Google for monopolizing the search advertising market.
Google has also taken steps to prevent Samsung, which accounts for about 60% of Android smartphones in the US, from developing its Samsung Galaxy Store, the plaintiffs say.
To complicate Samsung's development of its own marketplace, Google used several anti-competitive measures. For instance, the company used a revenue-sharing agreement with manufacturers of Android smartphones, which implied a ban on the pre-installation of alternatives to its app store.
In addition, Google offered money to the Korean company to refuse cooperation with leading developers and artificially restrain competition with Google Play.
In a blog post, Google called the lawsuit groundless, arguing that the changes the plaintiffs are asking for on Google Play threaten to increase costs for small developers, limit their ability to innovate and compete, and weaken app security in the Android ecosystem for consumers.
As Politico notes, the new lawsuit against Google is yet another challenge to the search giant's plan to force all app developers using the Google Play Store to pay a 30 percent commission starting September.