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Anti-Trust

In the Land of Trillion Dollar Goliaths | Google’s Play Store is monopolizing Android app distribution

Google claims it is open but in practice the company has major Apple envy. According to our recent report, an antitrust lawsuit by 36 state’s attorneys general is claiming that Google used anticompetitive business practices to funnel developers into its own App Store, the Google Play Store in which it extracts a 30% from all in-app purchases made on the platform.

The lawsuit continues to strike at the heart of the matter with “To collect and maintain this extravagant commission, Google has employed anticompetitive tactics to diminish and disincentivize competition in Android app distribution. Google has not only targeted potentially competing app stores, but also has ensured that app developers themselves have no reasonable choice but to distribute their apps through the Google Play Store.”

As an example of Google going after a Play Store competitor “Google felt deeply threatened when Samsung began to revamp its own app store, the Samsung Galaxy Store,” the suit says Google’s approach to the competing store as “a threat it needed to preemptively quash.”

The suit claims that Google attempted to prevent Android OEMs from pre-installing alternative Android app stores and made “a direct attempt to pay Samsung to abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.” The attorneys general claim that worked against Samsung’s Galaxy Store by encouraging/restricting/coercing developers from distributing their apps outside of Google’s Play Store.

The suit claims that Google attempted to prevent Android OEMs from pre-installing alternative Android app stores and made “a direct attempt to pay Samsung to abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.” The attorneys general claim that worked against Samsung’s Galaxy Store by encouraging/restricting/coercing developers from distributing their apps outside of Google’s Play Store.

The suit claims that Google attempted to prevent Android OEMs from pre-installing alternative Android app stores and made “a direct attempt to pay Samsung to abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.” The attorneys general claim that worked against Samsung’s Galaxy Store by encouraging/restricting/coercing developers from distributing their apps outside of Google’s Play Store. “To Google, competition in app distribution is a virus to be eliminated,” the suit says.

According to Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer, Android “supports multiple app stores. It’s strange that this suit attacks Android when it provides an unprecedented level of openness and choice. We think they got it wrong, and we’ll defend ourselves.” Lockheimer’s tweet comes on the back of Google’s blog post with the title “A lawsuit that ignores choice on Android and Google Play.”

Wilson White, Google’s Senior Director of Public Policy said “We also built an app store, Google Play, that helps people download apps on their devices. If you don’t find the app you’re looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a rival app store or directly from a developer’s website. We don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do.”

Is Google’s argument, “We are not as bad as the [only] other guy?” At this point the problem is quite clear, the app store model that Apple created and Google copied has led to less competition and a monopoly over app distribution over their respective platforms (Apple iOS variants and Google’s Android).

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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