A coalition of 37 attorneys general in the US this week filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit is focused on exclusionary contracts for the Google Play Store.
Attorneys general say Google required original equipment manufacturers - such as Samsung - and mobile network operators - such as Verizon - to enter into exclusive contracts and other restraints that restrict competition.
The lawsuit also accuses Google of requiring app developers selling in-app digital content through apps purchased via Google’s Play Store to use Google Billing as a middleman, forcing app consumers to pay Google’s commission — up to 30 percent — indefinitely.
“Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet for many years, but, more recently, it has also become the gatekeeper of our digital devices — resulting in all of us paying more for the software we use every day,” said Attorney General James. “Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions. Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google, and only Google, for the millions of applications they may choose to download to their phones and tablets. Worse yet, Google is squeezing the lifeblood out of millions of small businesses that are only seeking to compete. We are filing this lawsuit to end Google’s illegal monopoly power and finally give voice to millions of consumers and business owners.”
The coalition claims that Google’s conduct violates Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act; New York’s Donnelly Act; and a number of New York’s consumer protection laws, including Executive Law 63(12) and General Business Law § 349, as well as various other states’ antitrust and consumer protection laws.