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Google Play Store Targeted in Multistate Antitrust Suit

  • A bipartisan group of 37 AGs, led by Utah AG Sean Reyes, New York AG Letitia James, North Carolina AG Josh Stein, and Tennessee AG Herbert Slatery, sued Google, LLC and related entities (collectively, “Google”) over allegations that it holds a monopoly over the distribution of apps for the Android operating system in violation of the Sherman Act and state antitrust and consumer protection laws.
  • The complaint alleges that, among other things, Google uses exclusionary contracts to stop equipment manufacturers from developing their own app stores and to force them to preload its Google Play Store on all Android devices, and that it imposes onerous technical barriers to discourage or prevent third-party app developers from distributing their apps outside of the Google Play Store on Android devices. It also alleges that Google unlawfully ties the use of Google’s payment processor—a stand-alone service—to distribution through the Google Play Store and is thereby able to charge transaction processing fees of up to 30 percent of the transaction, which is far higher than processing fees charged in competitive markets.
  • The complaint seeks injunctive relief, declaratory relief, treble damages, disgorgement, civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs, among other things.