A group of 37 states, including Washington, D.C., sued Google on Wednesday, alleging antitrust violations in app store.
Attorneys general of 37 states claimed that the company’s control over its Android app store violates antitrust laws.
The antitrust lawsuit, led by Utah’s Sean Reyes (R) and New York’s Letitia James (D), is the third filed by states against the Silicon Valley giant.
In their complaint, the states alleged that Google controls 90 percent of the market for Android apps, and no other Android app store has more than a 5 percent market share.
While Google allows other app stores, the search giant has taken steps to ensure that none of them gain traction, according to the complaint.
For example, it refuses to allow other app stores to be downloaded from its Google Play Store, which comes preinstalled on all Android smartphones.
Moreover, it refuses to let other app stores buy advertising on its search engine or popular video streaming platform YouTube.
Additional, they believe that Google shut-out potential competitors in Android app distribution through exclusionary contracts, technical barriers and “misleading” security warnings. Those moves limited app choices and drove up prices, ultimately hurting consumers.
“Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet for many years, but, more recently, it has also become the gatekeeper of our digital devices — resulting in all of us paying more for the software we use every day,” James said in a statement.
“Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions,” she added.
The search giant posted a blog Wednesday evening calling the case “strange” and arguing that its app system provides “more openness and choice than others.”
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is similar to one filed by Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, in the same court last August.