SAN RAMON, Calif. (WTVF/AP) — Dozens of states including Tennessee are taking aim at Google in an escalating legal offensive on Big Tech.
A lawsuit filed late Wednesday targets Google's Play store, where consumers download apps designed for the Android software that powers most of the world’s smartphones.
Its focus is Google’s exclusionary conduct, which substantially shuts out competing ways for consumers to get apps. Google also inserts Google Play Billing as an unwelcome and overpriced middleman between app developers and consumers, for apps installed from the Play Store, according to a press release from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. This arrangement, which ties a payment processing system to an app distribution channel, forces consumers to pay Google’s commission—up to 30%—on in-app purchases of digital content. This commission is much higher than what consumers would pay in a competitive market.
The complaint represents the fourth major antitrust lawsuit filed against Google by government agencies across the U.S. since last October.
It also comes against a backdrop of proposed laws in Congress tailored to either break up or undermine the power amassed by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon while each have built trillion-dollar empires that reflect the immense popularity of their services.
The effort is led by Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, New York Attorney General Letitia James, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.
States joining the lawsuit include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.