Several American women joined a lawsuit filed, Wednesday, accusing Google of abusing its powers with regard to applications used on mobile phones that use the “Android” system.
The judicial move targeting the market for applications, “Play Store” and other digital content, comes at a time of increasing pressure on the authority of major technology companies by regulators.
“We are bringing this lawsuit to end Google’s monopoly and finally give a voice to millions of consumers and businesses,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the legal action.
The company has worked to ensure that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google alone for the millions of apps they may choose to download on their phones and tablets.
The lawsuit, backed by 37 attorney generals, accuses Google of using anti-competitive tactics to discourage the distribution of Android apps in markets other than the Play Store, where its payment system demands rates for every financial transaction.
The states also accuse Google of trying to “buy” Samsung, the maker of smartphones that uses the Play Store.
The “Galaxy” application store from “Samsung” is competing with the “Play Store”, as Google offered compensation to Samsung if it “abandoned its direct commercial relations in distributing applications with consumers and developers,” according to the lawsuit, which was also reported by the “Wall Street Journal.”.
The Korean company Samsung did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.
The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, came days after Google updated its policy on the Play Store, which requires developers to use a certain format for apps through its Play Store.
The company said that the new change reduces the size of the app to speed up the download process for users.
The case from the 33 states against Google’s Play Store follows an antitrust case brought by gaming company Epic, which alleged that Google acted uncompetitively in operating the store and eventually pulled the company’s Fortnite game from its virtual store.
In contrast, Google dismissed the accusations in the lawsuit as baseless and published details of how the Play Store helped app developers grow while providing security for Android users.
“Android and Google Play offer openness and options that other platforms simply don’t,” said Google’s chief public policy officer, Wilson White, in a post.
“The complaint is riddled with inflammatory language designed to distract attention from the fact that our rules on Android and Google Play benefit consumers.”
The lawsuit, filed by 33 US states plus Washington, DC, alleges that Google has positioned itself as a “middleman” between app developers and consumers.
A similar coalition of attorney generals filed a lawsuit in December accusing Google of exerting unilateral influence over Internet search and related advertising.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to loosen Google’s grip on the Play Store and to hand over the “unfair profits” that the giant group made through ads, purchases, etc., to the developers of the applications that were the reason for this profit.
A US congressional committee introduced a bill in June that would lead to sweeping antitrust reforms that would give regulators more power to break up giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
The move comes in light of growing concern about the influence of major technology companies, which have become more dominant in economic sectors and recorded growth during the pandemic.