“Google has really become a major player in the tech market, so much so that its products play a role in almost every aspect of Virginians’ daily lives, including their cell phones and the apps that they use on a regular basis,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “Because of this market dominance, Google has allegedly been able to tightly control app distribution — and the loss of competition here has cost Virginians hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than necessary when they buy phone apps and make in-app purchases on the apps they use.”
The suit came out of a massive investigation that began in September 2019 and involved Iowa and most other states.
In response to the lawsuit, Google said in a blog post that the challenge comes from a few major app developers that want preferential treatment. “Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that platforms simply don’t,” Google wrote, according to Reuters.
The latest legal challenge is led by Utah, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Among the other states involved in the lawsuit are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee and Iowa.
Herring and other attorneys general also sued Google in December 2020 for anticompetitive conduct in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, alleging that Google illegally maintains its monopoly power over general search engines and related advertising markets through a series of anticompetitive exclusionary contracts and conduct.