Given the sheer number of accusations of abuse of power that it is facing these days, Google had it coming. And as of Wednesday, it is officially here. “What is it?”, you ask? ‘It’ refers to a new antitrust lawsuit against Google that has been filed by a group of state attorney generals in the US, who have alleged that the tech giant abuses the control it has over the Play Store on Android.
What It Is About
First reported by Bloomberg, the suit has apparently been filed by as many as 36 states, along with Washington, DC, at the California Federal Court. It challenges the oppressive policy which forces app developers on Google Play Store to pay a commission of as much as 30 percent, on the sales that they make through their app products. This is achieved by having the developers sell their in-app products exclusively through Google Billings. The fees has recently been expanded to cover an additional series of digital products, which are bought through the Play Store. This has resulted in a number of major firms (who had previously managed to evade the taxes), coming under the hammer now.
Upon looking at the lawsuit, one would find Google, parent company Alphabet and other subsidiaries in Asia and Ireland, as the defendants.
This case comes after the tech biggie was also caught up in a similar suit, filed by game maker Epic Games, the name behind the wildly popular Fortnite interface. However, this particular antitrust lawsuit against Google did not gain much traction, as it was overshadowed by a parallel legal battle between Epic Games and Apple’s App Store.
Four and Counting
Google has recently been in quite a bit of a soup with the federal authorities, and has been getting itself caught up in all sorts of legal problems. This new AG suit is set to become the fourth in the steadily growing list of cases that Google is currently defending in courts in the US. Out of these, one has been filed directly by the US Department of Justice itself, alleging the firm of using monopolistic practices in search advertising, to boost the sales of its own products.
No Thanks to Apple?
It might be worth noting that while Play Store was considered to be pretty benign until fairly recently, the slew of antitrust claims against rival App Store has resulted in a lot of bad press for Google as well. This has recently caused both the companies to lower the tax bar to 15% for small developers, as public pressure mounts up.