Google. The world's most popular search engine turned technology company that pretty much seems to keep America and its consumers on top of everything. Google knows everything! But do we know everything about Google? What many people probably do not know about it is the entanglement of problems this company has gone through in 2021. To many people's surprise, the U.S. government has filed four antitrust lawsuits against Google in 2021, with its most recent one just this past month.
This time around, state attorneys are going after Google by claiming that the company took advantage of its power among app developers via its Play Store on Android. Specifically, this case focuses on the fact that the Google Play Store is quite parallel to Apple's App Store. As Feiner (2021) explains, even the Apple App Store has become consumed with legal challenges in the past years and attracted lawmaker questions over "whether it unfairly charges developers for payments through their apps by customers and whether it favors its own apps over those of its rivals" (Feiner, 2021).
State attorneys from exactly 36 out of the 50 states, including California, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, New York, and North Carolina (in addition to Washington, D.C.) are the established plaintiffs in this fourth and latest lawsuit. These states claim that Google has "used anticompetitive tactics to extract a 30% commission from consumers who purchase subscriptions and digital content on their Android phones" (Feiner, 2021). Ultimately, this leads to the bigger problem that app developers have no option besides to use Google's software for distribution because of Google's act of targeting competing app stores and also because Android is the only operating system available.
On the contrary, Google and its team defend their practices by stating that these state attorneys' actions against Google are "meritless" (Feiner, 2021). They also stand strong in their defense that their Play Store system provides much openness to consumers and that there are many options and choices for their consumers to use in comparison to others. However, the plaintiffs express that they will not settle until they achieve what they have set out for; to bring back competition and prevent Google from conducting similar problems in the future.
To read more about the previous lawsuits against Google in 2021, check out: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/07/states-bring-new-antitrust-suit-against-google-over-google-play.html
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