36 states, D.C. sue Google over antitrust violations in its android app store

A group of 36 states and Washington, D.C., sued Google on Wednesday in an antitrust case challenging the company’s control over its Android app store — opening a new front in regulators’ attempts to rein in the search giant.

The suit, filed in California federal court and led by Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska, is the latest in a series of major antitrust cases filed against the tech industry’s biggest forces, after years of brewing unhappiness with the growing wealth and power of Silicon Valley. The suit focuses on the Google Play Store’s policy of charging app developers a 30 percent commission on digital content or subscription purchases.

The complaint alleges that Google shut-out potential competitors in Android app distribution through exclusionary contracts, technical barriers and “misleading” security warnings. Those moves allegedly limited app choices and drove up prices, ultimately hurting consumers.

“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,” James said in a statement. “Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions,” she added. Google hit back in a blog calling the case “strange” and arguing that its app system provides “more openness and choice than others.”



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