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36 states sue Google to alleged Play Store manipulation

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A group of 37 US prosecutors-general in the US is suing Google for alleged practices that distort competition. The prosecutors general, both Democrats and Republicans, represent New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah, as well as the District of Columbia, to which the capital Washington belongs.

The complaint states that Google has a monopoly in the market for the distribution of apps for the Android operating system, which it owns and develops itself, and which is used by most smartphones in the world. Google would prefer its own app Store Play Store over other app stores available on Android devices, which would deprive the tech giant Android device users of more choice and innovation, as well as significantly lower mobile app prices.

The group of states also accuses Google of obliging app developers to use Google Billing when selling in-app digital content through apps purchased through Google’s Play Store. This would force app users to pay up to 30% commission indefinitely.

“Google has served for years as the gatekeeper of the internet, but lately it has also become the gatekeeper of our digital devices,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

‘As a result, we all pay more for the software we use every day. Once again, we see Google using its dominance to illegally deny the competition billions of dollars of profits.’

The group requested the court to stop Google’s illegal behavior and restore a competitive marketplace. States shall also seek redress for consumers through compensation and reimbursement for unjustified profits, in addition to civil sanctions.

Google is already the target of a historic federal anti-trust complaint filed in October 2020. In that case, the federal government focuses on special agreements and other business practices the company uses to maintain its dominance in online search. In December 2020, more than 40 prosecutors sued Google for giving its own products and services preferential treatment in search results.




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