Google To Face Antitrust Claims Over Its Play Store

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Several U.S. states are suing Google as early as next week, accusing the search and advertising giant of violating antitrust law with its mobile app store.

The lawsuit follows complaints from app developers about Google’s management of its Play Store for Android devices.

Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina and New York are spearheading the state attorneys general’s lawsuit, but the number of states involved has not yet been finalized.

Sources said the case is likely to be filed in federal court in Northern California, where related cases are also being tried, including a lawsuit filed last year by video game maker Epic Games Inc against Google alleging anti-competitive rules in the App Store and expected to go to trial next year.

There are also two proposed class-action lawsuits over the Play store before the same judge.

A Google spokesperson defended the App Store as open.

Google was initially seen as more open in the way it operated its app store than Apple, but has recently tightened the rules and stepped up enforcement.

The lawsuit is expected to focus on Google’s requirement that some apps use the company’s payment tools to sell subscriptions and content and pay Google up to 30% of its revenue.

Major app makers such as music streaming service Spotify Technology and dating service Match Group, which owns the app Tinder, have long accused Google and Apple of being anti-competitive in its demands for mandatory revenue sharing.

The latest lawsuit comes at a time of unusually heated debate over whether federal antitrust enforcement is too lax, with many individuals, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, calling for stricter enforcement.

For more information, you may view the original story in Reuters.

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