Google allegedly used anti-competitive practices to “preemptively quash” Samsungs Galaxy Store in order to prevent it from becoming a viable competitor to its own Play Store, a new multi-state antitrust lawsuit in the US has claimed.
The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of 37 attorneys general co-led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, also alleged that Google is forcing consumers into in-app payments that grant the company a hefty cut.
“Google felt deeply threatened when Samsung began to revamp its own app store, the Samsung Galaxy Store,” the lawsuit alleged.
It described Google’s approach to the competing Samsung Galaxy store as “a threat it needed to preemptively quash.”
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The lawsuit claimed that Google used revenue share agreements with Android phone manufacturers that “outright prohibited” pre-installing some other app stores.
It then made “a direct attempt to pay Samsung to abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.”
In a blog post late on Wednesday, Google called it “a meritless lawsuit that ignores Android’s openness.”
“It is strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others,” said Wilson White, Senior Director of Public Policy at Google.
“This complaint mimics a similarly meritless lawsuit filed by the large app developer Epic Games, which has benefitted from Android’s openness by distributing its Fortnite app outside of Google Play,” he argued.
Google said that Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that other platforms simply don’t.
“This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers. It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it,” the company emphasized.
The company said that as of February 2020, developers had earned over $80 billion through Google Play.
In 2020, the Android app economy, including Google Play, helped create nearly 2 million American jobs.
In December last year, 35 states filed a separate antitrust suit against Google, alleging that the company engaged in illegal behavior to maintain a monopoly on the search business.
Earlier in October, the US Justice Department and 11 states sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it weaponized its dominance in online search and advertising to kill off competition and harm consumers.