Attorneys general in 36 states and Washington DC have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of abusing its power by increasing its Play Store fees.
The lawsuit, filed at a federal court in California, challenges Google’s recent expansion of its policy that requires Android app developers with apps in the Play Store to pay a 30% commission on sales made through their apps. The updated policy included more digital items, and targeted popular apps that had previously been able to avoid the hefty commission.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
In response to the lawsuit, Google, in a blog post, wrote: “It’s strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others.”
Google has mostly avoided the same antitrust accusation as Apple because Android users can install apps from third-party providers.
Google has previously made the same argument when facing antitrust accusations. In a Senate Judiciary Hearing, Google’s public policy lead Wilson White said: “If a developer feels that the value proposition of Google Play is not adequate, they can distribute their apps in a number of other ways.”
In the blog post, Google added: “This complaint mimics a similarly meritless lawsuit filed by the large app developer Epic Games, which has benefitted from Android’s openness by distributing its Fortnite app outside of Google Play.”
Epic Games sued Google in August for raising its commission. However, the lawsuit has mostly stayed off the headlines as it was overshadowed by the ongoing and similar Epic vs. Apple case.
Google is currently facing three federal antitrust lawsuits, including one filed by the Department of Justice over the company’s abuse of its power in search advertising.
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