The attorneys general of 36 U.S. states and the attorney general of the District of Columbia sued the technology giant Google for its possible monopoly with the app store. The United Kingdom, France, and Australia have filed similar cases.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in California, on Wednesday, July 7, arguing that Google’s control of the Google Play Store for Android apps limits access for app makers and blocks the establishment of other stores, according to Politico July 7.
The dominance that tech giant Google exerts from its Play store allows it to charge fees up to 30% on digital transactions for apps using the Android operating system.
Smartphones using Android make up more than 80% of the world market.
For his part, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes stated, “Google must be held accountable for harming small businesses and consumers,” according to AP.
He added: “It must stop using its monopolistic power and hyper-dominant market position to unlawfully leverage billions of added dollars from smaller companies, competitors, and consumers beyond what should be paid.”
This lawsuit is the first to call for an easing of the mobile app store market. Previously, the United Kingdom and Australia also initiated investigations into Google’s apparent monopoly on an Internet search.
Google’s interference starts with the pre-installation of its Google Play Store on all Android smartphones. It also prevents other app stores from buying advertising on its search engine or YouTube platform.
The court action filed by the 36 states and the District of Columbia was welcomed by the App Fairness Coalition, to which the companies Epic, Spotify, and Match belong.
In this regard, the group’s executive director, Meghan DiMuzio, commented, “App stores have been given a free pass to abuse their dominant market position for far too long.”
Google’s market dominance activities are so pervasive in the technology market that this is already the fourth such lawsuit filed in an attempt to expand the scope of action of companies also active in this sector.
For the attorney’s general, Google’s impositions represent an illegal monopoly, which has also abused that power to obtain billions of dollars in profits at the expense of consumers.
Despite repeated lawsuits against it, Google describes the accusations as “unfounded,” and even considers that it “offers more openness and choice than others.”
Notwithstanding this attitude, Google has already been condemned in other cases, such as in France, where the watchdog imposed a fine of 268 million dollars in a case related to the online advertising technology market.
Google allegedly failed to comply with regulations due to its monopolistic position in ad servers for websites and mobile applications. In this case, it agreed to pay the fine and put an end to some of its preferential practices.
Also, at the beginning of the year, the Australian parliament passed for the first time worldwide a law for technology giants such as Facebook and Google to pay local publishers for news content.
Several governments are already taking measures to curb the abusive monopoly of some powerful firms that manage a large part of the online business.