WASHINGTON – A group of dozen of states and the District of Columbia sued Google Wednesday over allegations that its mobile app store is abusing its market power and expanding the legal challenges the internet search giant is facing.
The lawsuit would be the fourth federal or state antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, but the first to scrutinize the company’s lucrative app store. It was filed according to a public filing in federal court in the Northern District of California that showed the lawsuit was brought from Utah, North Carolina, New York, and Tennessee.
Mobile app developers are struggling with the way Google is getting them to use their own system for payments in their products. This system charges a 30 percent commission on many transactions, which, according to the developers, forces them to charge higher prices for their services.
Apple, which operates the other major smartphone app store, is also on trial because of developer cuts on app sales and subscriptions. Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple last year, accusing Apple of abusing its market power to charge app makers unfairly high commissions. It is waiting for a decision on the case next month.
Other antitrust complaints against Google centered on search and advertising. The Justice Department sued the company last year on allegations that it illegally protected its monopoly on online search advertising. A later lawsuit filed by attorneys general accused Google of abusing its power over advertising technology, and they separately sued it for pressuring smaller search services.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The lawsuit was previously reported by Bloomberg.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.