Google Faces Antitrust Case Over Mobile App Store

Google Faces Antitrust Case Over Mobile App Store

June 23, 2021 at 05:59PM

Attorneys general in at least four different states are readying an antitrust lawsuit against Google and its mobile app store, Reuters reported.

Sources told the news outlet that the suit, in the works since last year, stems from complaints from app developers about how Google runs its Play Store for Android devices. The case is being led by state attorneys general from New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, but it’s not clear if other states will take part.

The case will likely be filed in federal court in Northern California, where similar cases are being heard, including a suit by Epic Games Inc., accusing Google of anti-competitive rules in its app store, along with two proposed class-action lawsuits.

Google has defended its store as an open market.

“Android is the only major operating system that allows people to download apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with two or more app stores preinstalled,” a Google spokesperson told Reuters. “They can also install additional app stores or apps directly from their browser if they choose.”

The Reuters story says the suit is expected to home in on Google’s rule requiring some apps use its payment tools to sell subscriptions and content, turning over as much as 30 percent of sales to Google.

Google is also facing an antitrust investigation over the Android operating system in India, where news broke this week that the country’s Competition Commission is looking into whether the company abused its rank in the Indian smart TV market.

And these cases arrive just as the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee is set to vote on a package of six bills designed to curb some of the power of Google and its Big Tech brethren: Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

As PYMNTS reported last week, half the bills deal with conflicts of interests in tech companies and prevent dominant platforms from acquiring rivals. The fourth bill requires platform businesses to permit uses to transfer data to other companies, even competing companies. The other bills give more money to antitrust enforcers and give attorneys general more leeway in prosecuting antitrust cases.