Dozens of state attorney generals, including California’s Rob Bonta, are collaborating in a collective lawsuit filed against Google who, they claim, violates state and federal antitrust laws in the smartphone application market.
These allegations have arisen after discoveries were made that the tech giant leverages “anti-competitive agreements” with phone companies — particularly Android — to where they own control over app distribution through its Google Play Store, according to a news release.
“The Google Play Store is displayed most prominently on the home screen of nearly every Android device in the nation and cannot be deleted,” the release mentioned. “Over 90 percent of all Android app distribution in the United States is done through Google’s Play Store. No competing app store has more than 5 percent of the market.”
Along with alleging that Google violated the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and California’s Cartwright Act among other statutes, a separate complaint is also accusing Google of having the objective of deterring third-party app stores, stating “Google pays billions of dollars each year to device makers to make Google their default internet search engine.”
Bonta joins a lawsuit that is currently being pursued by 37 other attorney generals across the country, including those from New York, Colorado, Utah, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
“Google has violated the trust of Android phone customers by limiting consumer choice and raking in outrageous commissions on app developers,” said Attorney General Bonta. “This anti-competitive behavior also stings consumers by limiting their options. A more competitive app marketplace could open innovation, leading to more choice, better payment processing, improved customer service, and enhanced data security.”
The lawsuit has seen general support from the public, particularly those who have pursued fairness among the app ecosystem. The Coalition for App Fairness, an independent nonprofit organization, released a statement in which they provided their unequivocal support for the lawsuit.
“App stores have been given a free pass to abuse their dominant market position for far too long,” they said in their statement. “Their anti-competitive policies stifle innovation, inhibit consumer freedom, inflate costs, and limit transparent communication between developers and their customers.”
The listed plaintiffs on the suit are “GOOGLE LLC, GOOGLE IRELAND LIMITED, GOOGLE COMMERCE LIMITED, GOOGLE ASIA PACIFIC PTE. LIMITED, GOOGLE PAYMENT CORP., and ALPHABET INC.,”
Read the full 144-page complaint below: