A coalition of 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, have sued Google over alleged antitrust violations with its Play Store.
Google is facing numerous lawsuits and investigations, being accused of abusing its dominant search and advertising position. The company is also being sued by Epic, the creator of Fortnite, over alleged antitrust violations.
Google’s problems appear to be going from bad to worse, with 36 states and D.C. launching an antitrust lawsuit against the company. Colorado later joined the coalition, bringing the number of states to 37, according to Engadget. The case revolves around Google’s plans charge a 30% commission to all developers that use the Play Store, according to Politico.
The bipartisan group of attorneys general represent:
South Dakota, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Indiana, Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Idaho, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Montana, Arkansas, Oregon, Vermont, California, Mississippi, Delaware, Missouri, North Dakota, Colorado, Washington, North Carolina, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Arizona.
Google has responded to the lawsuit, accusing the states of ignoring the choice Android users have to use the Play Store, or download from a rival store.
We built Android to create more choices in mobile technology. Today, anyone, including our competitors, can customize and build devices with the Android operating system — for free.
We also built an app store, Google Play, that helps people download apps on their devices. If you don’t find the app you’re looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a rival app store or directly from a developer’s website. We don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do.
So 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. 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.
It does seem strange the states are choosing to sue Google for charging developers for the use of its Play Store when such usage is entirely optional.