Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) app store, Google Play, became the latest target of Big Tech antitrust regulators in a federal lawsuit filed by dozens of attorneys general led by the state of Utah.
The case, brought in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is one of dozens of lawsuits that Google’s parent company Alphabet is facing in a wave of actions around the globe challenging tiers of its dominant markets.
In the complaint, the states accuse Google of illegally operating monopolies in the market for Android app distribution by imposing technical barriers that prevent third parties from distributing apps outside the Play Store. According to the complaint, Google controls 99% of the “licensable” market.
“Android is the only viable operating system available to license by mobile device manufacturers that market and sell their devices to U.S. consumers,” the lawsuit states, noting a distinction Google has from its competitor Apple (AAPL) that is also facing antitrust scrutiny over its App Store.
The suit added: “The barriers to entry in the licensable mobile operating system market are high, and even highly resourced entrants, such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) have failed.”
To stifle competition, the states allege, Google uses contracts to prevent original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from circumventing the technical barriers, and to block competing app stores from distribution on the Play Store.
Presented by Romano Pisciotti