36 states, DC sue Google, alleging antitrust violations in app store

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The attorneys general of 36 states and Washington, D.C., sued Google Wednesday, alleging the company’s control over its Android app store violates antitrust laws.

The antitrust lawsuit, led by Utah’s Sean Reyes (R) and New York’s Letitia James (D), is the third filed by states against the Silicon Valley giant. 

It focuses on the Google Play Store’s policy of charging app developers a 30 percent commission on digital content or subscription purchases. 

The complaint alleges that Google shut-out potential competitors in Android app distribution through exclusionary contracts, technical barriers and “misleading” security warnings. 

Those moves allegedly limited app choices and drove up prices, ultimately hurting consumers.

“Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet for many years, but, more recently, it has also become the gatekeeper of our digital devices — resulting in all of us paying more for the software we use every day,” James said in a statement.  

“Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions,” she added.

Google posted a blog Wednesday evening calling the case “strange” and arguing that its app system provides “more openness and choice than others.”

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is similar to one filed by Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, in the same court last August.

Wednesday’s case was filed shortly after a district court judge dismissed a separate antitrust suit against Facebook from another coalition of attorneys general. That suit was dismissed because the judge found the states had waited too long to bring their suit.

Updated at 9:22 p.m.

Tags Android antitrust App Store Fortnite Google Lawsuit Silicon Valley

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