Google nears settlement in app store antitrust case

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is close to reaching a settlement in a legal dispute with a group of states. These states have accused Google of unfairly dominating the market through its Google Play Store. The lead state in this case is Utah.

Both sides recently informed a California federal judge that they have a basic agreement to resolve the claims that Google has created a monopoly with its app store. They plan to present a detailed settlement to the court for approval in about a month. The specific terms of this potential deal have not been revealed, and Google has chosen not to comment on the matter.

The lawsuit, filed by the states in July 2021, alleges that Google’s app store practices have restricted competition through various methods, such as contracts and technical obstacles. A key point of contention is Google’s requirement that apps on its store must use Google’s payment system, which charges a service fee of 15% to 30% on sales.

Google has argued that it offers an open system, allowing users to download apps directly from developers’ websites for free.

In recent years, Google has faced several legal challenges from state and federal authorities. The Justice Department initiated legal action against Google earlier this year, seeking to restructure the company’s role as a digital advertising intermediary. Federal prosecutors claim that Google is misusing its role as a major supplier and online auctioneer of ads placed on websites and mobile apps.

Additionally, Google is in a legal dispute with Match Group regarding the listing of its dating apps, including Tinder and OkCupid, on the Google Play store. Match challenged Google Play’s billing requirements in a lawsuit last year, leading Google to counter-sue over an alleged breach of contract and attempting to remove Match from its app store. 

Google’s legal challenges do not stop there. Last year, Google and Apple faced an antitrust complaint in Mexico over their app store payment commissions. The Japan Fair Trade Commission said it will start an investigation as Apple and Google’s businesses don’t face enough competition pressure, earlier this year. In June, Google received an order from EU antitrust regulators to sell a part of its ad-tech business.  

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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