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Google sued by 36 states, DC for alleged antitrust violations in app store

The web giant calls the suit "meritless."

Android at Google I/O 2021

Google is facing more antitrust trouble.

James Martin/CNET

A group of state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, alleging the company's Play store for Android apps violates antitrust laws.

The suit focuses on the 30% fee Google charges developers for selling digital goods and services via the Play Store. As of July 1, that fee dropped to 15% until developers hit $1 million in revenue for the year. The new lawsuit, reported earlier by Politico, mirrors one filed last year against Google by Epic Games, developer of the popular battle royale game Fortnite.

"Google must be held accountable for harming small businesses and consumers," Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, one of the lawsuit's leaders, said in a statement. "It must stop using its monopolistic power and hyper-dominant market position to unlawfully leverage billions of added dollars from smaller companies, competitors and consumers beyond what should be paid."

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Google called the lawsuit "meritless" in a blog post on Wednesday, adding that Android users can download apps from rival app stores or developers' sites, in addition to its own.

"We don't impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do," Wilson White, Google's senior director of public policy, wrote in a blog post. "So, it's strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others."

In total, attorneys general for 36 states and DC will join the new suit, which is being led by Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska, according to Politico. A heavily redacted copy of the lawsuit (see below) was filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Google is already facing three major antitrust lawsuits in the US, including a suit filed by the Department of Justice and another complaint filed by a bipartisan coalition of states.

CNET's Steven Musil contributed to this report.

State attorneys general antitrust lawsuit against Google by jonathan_skillings on Scribd