Google Monopoly on Android Mobile Apps Antitrust Class Action

Antitrust class actions are intended to keep consumers from paying excessive prices for goods or services as a result of monopolistic or tight control of specific markets. This case alleges that Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. have taken actions to discourage competition in the market for Android mobile applications.

The class for this action is all persons and entities in the US that paid Google for a mobile appp at the Google play Store, subscription fees for a mobile app at the Google Play Store, or app content from a mobile app at the Google App Store, between January 1, 2016 and the present.

Google is an enormous presence online. In 2019, it had revenues of more than $160 billion and net income of more than $33 billion. According to the complaint, “Financial analysts predict that Google is well positioned to maintain its dominance, noting that ‘Alphabet has established unusually deep competitive moats around its business.’”

As mobile devices became popular, Google targeted them and aimed to ensure that mobile products could use versions its technology and products.

Mobile apps permit users to share content, play games, and make purchases, including via “in-app” purchases of goods or services. The two most popular operating systems (OSs) are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

To gain a position in the market, Google claimed that the Android system was “open source,” meaning that other companies could access and modify its code. A modification of the system is called a “fork.” The purported lack of control was a reason for hardware and software makers to favor Android over other systems.

According to the complaint, “Google solidified market dominance of Android OS through a series of contract with distributors designed to minimize competition.” The agreements prohibit hardware makers “from distributing versions of Android that that do not comply with onerous Google-controlled technical standards. The signatories may not distribute devices with Android forks, or us[e] their powerful brands to market forks on behalf of third parties.”

Now, as a result, the complaint says, “Android OS represents over 95 percent of licensable mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets in the United States.” Also, “Google exercised its monopoly power” to make the Google Play Store the dominant ‘store’ for Android applications. The Play Store is pre-installed on mobile devices and does not allow rival stores to be downloaded.

The complaint alleges that “the Play Store effectively functions as a gatekeeper for software distribution on all mobile devices with Android OS.”

Because of this, the complaint contends, Google has been able to extract high prices from consumers and impose a 30 percent fee on sales of apps and in-app purchases. The complaint also claims that Play Store policies are enforced in an arbitrary and unaccountable manner, in a way that protects Google’s market dominance. Its Developer Distribution Agreement also protects its dominance.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

Google Monopoly on Android Mobile Apps Antitrust Complaint

October 30, 2020

Antitrust class actions are intended to keep consumers from paying excessive prices for goods or services as a result of monopolistic or tight control of specific markets. This case alleges that Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. have taken actions to discourage competition in the market for Android mobile applications.

Google Monopoly on Android Mobile Apps Antitrust Complaint

Case Event History

Google Monopoly on Android Mobile Apps Antitrust Complaint

October 30, 2020

Antitrust class actions are intended to keep consumers from paying excessive prices for goods or services as a result of monopolistic or tight control of specific markets. This case alleges that Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. have taken actions to discourage competition in the market for Android mobile applications.

Google Monopoly on Android Mobile Apps Antitrust Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Delaying Entry of Others into Market