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In Yet Another Antitrust, Google Is Being Sued by 37 US States Over Google Play

The lawsuit claims that Google violates federal and state antitrust laws by discouraging and preventing competition.

Thirty-seven U.S. states have filed a lawsuit over policies on Google's Android app store, Google Play, because they claim the firm has used "monopolistic leverage" to generate significant profits from purchases made within its own store and buy off and discourage competitors.

“Google’s monopoly is a menace to the marketplace. Google Play is not fair play. Google must be held accountable for harming small businesses and consumers. 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,” said in a statement Utah Attorney General Reyes. 

The statement further claimed that Google forces app consumers to pay its commission — up to 30% — on in-app purchases of digital content made by consumers through apps that are distributed via the Google Play Store, a commission that is much higher than the commission that consumers would pay if they had the ability to choose one of Google’s competitors instead. 

The lawsuit further claims that Google violates federal and state antitrust laws by discouraging and preventing competition. 

Google responded to the lawsuit by publishing a blog post by Wilson White, Senior Director of Public Policy. White emphasized that Google Play 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," wrote White.

According to Statista, in 2020, Google's gross revenue from Google Play was $36.8 billion. The states involved in the lawsuit include Washington DC, New York, Tennessee and North Carolina.

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