New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced a bipartisan offensive by 37 district and attorney generals against Google – Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)– over monopoly practices on its mobile app store.
Google raising prices and squeezing small businesses
The lawsuit claims that Google requires some apps to use its payment methods while retaining a 30% commission of their digital product sales on the company’s Android Play Store. App developers are forced to use Google’s software for distribution because the company has “targeted potentially competing app stores,” reports CNBC.
“This is our second lawsuit against Google in the last six months, to protect consumers and free competition,” tweeted James on Wednesday. The move arrives on the same day former President Donald Trump announced a lawsuit against three Big Tech companies for vetoing his social media accounts.
Attorney General James was quoted as saying on USA Today, “This is raising prices for consumers and squeezing millions of small businesses that are trying to compete.”
“We won’t allow companies to illegally quash competition so they can make billions. We are seeking to end Google’s monopoly power and fight for millions of consumers and small business owners in New York and beyond.”
Google thwarting big rivals
According to plaintiffs cited by CNBC, the Google Play Store distributes nearly 90% of Android apps in the U.S., with no other Android store boasting over 5% market share. Google has also attempted to “buy off” Samsung by offering incentives and turn its Galaxy app store into a “white label” for the Play Store.
They also assert that Google has also prevented Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) from using its own distribution store on Android. Back in September, Google had announced that it would increase control of its app store, drawing criticism from developers.
The lawsuit announced on Wednesday is one more in a string of cases against large technology companies for alleged monopolistic practices and abuse of their market position.
The offensive is not new, as even under Trump’s divisive mandate urged Democrats and Republicans to join forces in numerous initiatives to curb the all-encompassing power of Silicon Valley’s greats.
However, Big Tech companies also come out unscathed. Last week, Facebook hit a $1 trillion market capitalization record after a Washington judge had dismissed monopoly charges against the company, brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of 46 states.
The antitrust lawsuit had been brought against the company to order it to sell both WhatsApp and Instagram. Once the monopoly charges were dismissed, Facebook shares jumped 4.2% to 355.64 by the end of the session.
Google, Facebook, and Amazon are part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.