37 states in the United States is set to sue Google over discriminatory policies it implements on its Android app store, Google Play. The US based tech giant used “monopolistic leverage” to rake in huge profits from purchases that are made within its own store, claimed the lawsuit. It also alleged that its competitors had been bought off by Google to reduce competition in the market.
Competing app stores for Android devices are available in the market and users can also down load such apps directly from the websites of the developers, Google said.
New York, Tennessee and North Carolina, as well as Washington DC are among the 37 states that are involved in the legal action against Google. The lawsuit critically points out the commission that is taken by Google for most purchases that are made within Google Play – and fees for such transactions can be as high as up to 30 per cent which similar to the policy applied by Apple for its App Store as well as those employed by some of the rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft XBox.
According to a report by Statista, the gross revenue earned by Google from Google Play in 2020 was $36.8bn. On the other hand, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has claimed that he does not know the profitability of its App Store is as an individual entity within the company.
About 97 per cent of the app developers at Google’s Play Store do not pay the company any “service fees” at all because they do not sell any digital products from within their apps, Google also says.
“Google Play is not fair play,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement. “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.”
The legal action was described as “strange” by Google’s senior head of public policy, Wilson White, in a blog post. “We understand that scrutiny is appropriate, and we’re committed to engaging with regulators,” he wrote. “But Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that other platforms simply don’t,” he said in the blog.
There is increasing scrutiny of the app store policies of tech giants.
An investigation into Apple’s app store policies was launched by the Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom in May this year.
And back in January, legal action against both Apple and Google in the UK was initiated by Epic Games, the company behind the hit game Fortnite, alleging breach of competition rules.
And according to a report from The Verge, a study that was commissioned by Facebook in December had suggested that either Apple or Google were the makers of the majority of the apps that are used by people in the US.
(Adapted from BBC.com)