Google announced last week that 60% of its workforce will be working in the office around three days a week, 20% in new office locations and 20% from home.
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A group of attorneys general has once again teamed up to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google, this time alleging that the company has abused its power over app developers through its mobile Play Store on Android.
The case is the fourth antitrust lawsuit filed against the company by US government enforcers last year.
By focusing on the Play Store, the latest lawsuit touches an aspect of Google’s business that is most similar to Apple’s. The Apple App Store has encountered legal challenges and has raised questions from legislators as to whether it is wrongly charging developers for payments made through their apps by customers and whether it prefers its own apps over those of its competitors.
Attorneys-general from 36 states and the District of Columbia, coming from both parties, are listed as plaintiffs in the most recent case filed in the Northern District of California on Wednesday. The states include California, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, and North Carolina.
Plaintiffs allege Google used anti-competitive tactics to remove 30% commission from consumers who purchase subscriptions and digital content on their Android phones. App developers, they say, have no choice but to use Google’s software for distribution, also because Google has targeted “potentially competing app stores”. In the meantime, consumers have no options as Android is the only operating system available on many phones.
“Google’s enduring monopoly power in the markets for the distribution of Android apps and in-app purchases is not based on pure competition,” said the lawsuit. “These monopolies are sustained by artificial technological and contractual conditions that Google imposes on the Android ecosystem.”
In addition to the recent antitrust challenge, Google is facing an ongoing lawsuit from the Department of Justice and several states alleging that it used exclusion agreements to ensure the default status of its apps on devices from manufacturers using its Android mobile operating system. It is also facing a lawsuit by a group of Republican attorneys general focused on their advertising technology business, alleging they entered an anti-competitive agreement with Facebook.
The third lawsuit prior to this latest challenge came from a bipartisan group of attorneys general that went beyond the DOJ’s allegations of excluding contracts. The lawsuit alleged that Google was restricting vertical search providers like Yelp and Tripadvisor from reaching consumers through “discriminatory behavior on the search results page.”
This story evolves. Check back for updates.
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