Google hit with class-action lawsuit claiming Play Store monopolizes Android app market

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
An antitrust lawsuit lodged against Google this week alleges the search giant participates in anticompetitive practices including exclusionary behavior associated with a 30% fee on Play Store transactions.




Lodged in California federal court by law firm Hagens Berman, the suit seeks monetary and injunctive relief against Google for alleged anticompetitive practices and supracompetitive Google Play distribution and in-app payment processing fees. Plaintiff Pure Sweat Basketball is named as the case's sole plaintiff, though the law firm is soliciting other developers to come forward and join as part of a larger class.

According to a press release, the lawsuit aims to shine a light on Google's "ongoing abuse of its market power, including the exclusion of competition, the stifling of innovation, the inhibition of consumer choice, and Google's imposition on app developers of a supracompetitive 30% transaction fee." Google, like Apple, takes a slice of app store payments and in-app purchases, including subscriptions.

Google leverages "overwhelming market power" to extract "more money from developers than they should have to pay" for app distribution, attorneys say. The suit claims violation of the Sherman Act and the California Unfair Competition Law.

"This high fee artificially raises the price of the products sold there," the suit reads. "But for Google's exclusionary behavior, the Android app market would have more, and more meaningful and effective, competition."

Google further bundles its Play Store with other standard Google apps as part of the Android operating system, providing it a leg up over competing stores.

"Its overbearing contracts and practices steal oxygen even from well-resourced competitors such as Amazon, robbing the marketplace of innovative means of distributing apps at lower costs to developers," according to the lawsuit.

Hagens Berman is no stranger to cases critical of big tech dealings and is often sought as counsel for lawsuits involving Apple. In 2019, the law firm leveled a similar class-action complaint against the iPhone maker for its $99 developer fee and App Store pricing structure. The firm was also involved in suits targeting iPhone throttling and refurbished AppleCare+ replacements. In 2013, Hagens Berman successfully argued a class-action suit on e-book price fixing that resulted in a $450 million settlement to consumers.

"For years, Google has gotten away with widespread anticompetitive practices that hold app developers hostage and rob them of profits they would otherwise receive for their work product," said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. "We have taken on Google and Apple for what we believe to be improper and unlawful behavior that harms app developers, and for consumers, we have filed suit against Amazon as to its monopolistic behavior that have driven up the cost of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic."

While both Apple and Google are under the microscope for potential anticompetitive practices, it has until now been Apple that was heavily scrutinized over its App Store business practices. In addition to an ongoing U.S. antitrust investigation, the company this week was hit with a private suit from Epic Games, which rails against App Store fees. Epic also sued Google over identical issues.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    I hope they lose because it's stolen technology. Google pretended to help 3rd party manufacturers with the platform but took their control.

    Apple on the other hand develops everything themselves.
    edited August 2020 MacProDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Beats said:
    I hope they lose because it's stolen technology. Google pretended to help 3rd party manufacturers with the platform but took their control.

    Apple on the other hand develops everything themselves.
    This lawsuit will be extended to Apple in the next few days, and if Google loses, then Apple has no chance. 
    muthuk_vanalingamInspiredCodesteven n.elijahgjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    tstumptstump Posts: 29member
    There are so many flawed premises in these suits and complaints against both google play and Apple‘s App Store.

    First and foremost — they like to pretend it’s just a form of distribution.

    There needs to be a class action amicus brief Filed on behalf of the users who are ever so thankful and grateful that there is a central repository to go to, there’s a central source to learn of apps, and, there is some form of vetting to make sure it works Correctly on the platform, at least that’s done by correctly on the platform, at least that’s done by the App Store. filed on behalf of the users who are ever so thankful and grateful but there is a central repository to go to, there’s a central source to learn of apps, one, there is some form of setting to make sure it works App Store.

    Please play this should b so grateful that platform is created for them  to run on. They should be super grateful for all the frameworks and code and APIs  etc. that are painstakingly developed iterated upon at extraordinary expense for those developers.
    The complaining  Developers  should be grateful that they’re are search capabilities to search for in the central repository of Google play and Apple‘s App. Store.

    These suits and complaints to Louisiana and gracious and I’m thankful best wraps juvenile at wurst 


    Anilu_777steven n.patchythepiratemcdavewilliamlondondewmeDogpersonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    What would all these developers who are complaining do if the Play Store and App Store vanished? Do they actually think they could market, support and provide a way to get their apps onto people’s phones by themselves?  They pay a fee for the services Apple and Google provide to both them as developers and us as consumers.  Yes, Apple and Google take a profit.  They’re businesses, not charities.  It’s a symbiotic relationship, without each other it wouldn’t provide consumers with the enjoyment we get.  The only ones winning here are the lawyers.
    viclauyycchiawilliamlondonpscooter63dewmeDogpersonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,261member
    Anilu_777 said:
    What would all these developers who are complaining do if the Play Store and App Store vanished? Do they actually think they could market, support and provide a way to get their apps onto people’s phones by themselves?  They pay a fee for the services Apple and Google provide to both them as developers and us as consumers.  Yes, Apple and Google take a profit.  They’re businesses, not charities.  It’s a symbiotic relationship, without each other it wouldn’t provide consumers with the enjoyment we get.  The only ones winning here are the lawyers.
    Don’t lawyers take 33% of any wins after their expenses?  I think this is far to much. It should only be 5 or 10 percent and they should cover their own expenses out of that. 
    gatorguyaderutterwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    These frivolous suits should be responded to with multi-billion dollar countersuits.
    viclauyycchiamwhitepscooter63jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    genovelle said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    What would all these developers who are complaining do if the Play Store and App Store vanished? Do they actually think they could market, support and provide a way to get their apps onto people’s phones by themselves?  They pay a fee for the services Apple and Google provide to both them as developers and us as consumers.  Yes, Apple and Google take a profit.  They’re businesses, not charities.  It’s a symbiotic relationship, without each other it wouldn’t provide consumers with the enjoyment we get.  The only ones winning here are the lawyers.
    Don’t lawyers take 33% of any wins after their expenses?  I think this is far to much. It should only be 5 or 10 percent and they should cover their own expenses out of that. 

    They should be free!
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 8 of 22
    I don’t know who they can win the case. They might win if they sue apple, it is somewhat monopoly for App Store. But Everyone can download outside google play. This is beyond stupid. Blood sucking lawyers. 
    gatorguywilliamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 9 of 22
    harrykatsarosharrykatsaros Posts: 39unconfirmed, member
    Apple and Google should just shut down their stores entirely. See how fast all the big developers change their minds about how fair that 30% transaction fee is. 
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 311member
    All complaining developers are free to leave AppStore or GooglePlay and start developing applications exclusively for
    the law firm Hagens Berman. Curious how much money they will earn then.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,749member
    Anilu_777 said:
    What would all these developers who are complaining do if the Play Store and App Store vanished? Do they actually think they could market, support and provide a way to get their apps onto people’s phones by themselves?  They pay a fee for the services Apple and Google provide to both them as developers and us as consumers.  Yes, Apple and Google take a profit.  They’re businesses, not charities.  It’s a symbiotic relationship, without each other it wouldn’t provide consumers with the enjoyment we get.  The only ones winning here are the lawyers.
    They don’t care. They are beyond reason, blind by defiance of what they see as oppression.
    Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,711member
    viclauyyc said:
    I don’t know who they can win the case. They might win if they sue apple, it is somewhat monopoly for App Store. But Everyone can download outside google play. This is beyond stupid. Blood sucking lawyers. 
    I was wondering about that. I seem to remember reading about other companies, often manufacturers, setting up their own Android App stores. 
  • Reply 13 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Beats said:
    I hope they lose because it's stolen technology. Google pretended to help 3rd party manufacturers with the platform but took their control.

    Apple on the other hand develops everything themselves.
    This lawsuit will be extended to Apple in the next few days, and if Google loses, then Apple has no chance. 
    There is a difference. The Android platform has endlessly claimed massive numerical dominance of 'devices' (never mind 90% are free with Christmas crackers) whereas, Apple has testified in front of Congress it does not have market dominance.
    lordjohnwhorfinpscooter63F_Kent_Djony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,162member
    MacPro said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Beats said:
    I hope they lose because it's stolen technology. Google pretended to help 3rd party manufacturers with the platform but took their control.

    Apple on the other hand develops everything themselves.
    This lawsuit will be extended to Apple in the next few days, and if Google loses, then Apple has no chance. 
    There is a difference. The Android platform has endlessly claimed massive numerical dominance of 'devices' (never mind 90% are free with Christmas crackers) whereas, Apple has testified in front of Congress it does not have market dominance.
    Competition and antitrust agencies in several countries would seem to disagree on that distinction.
    elijahg
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Curiously absent from the lawsuit: Microsoft (XBox), Sony (PS4) and Nintendo (Switch) who have been doing the exact same thing on their own dominant platform for longer.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 22
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,510member
    genovelle said:
    Anilu_777 said:

    Don’t lawyers take 33% of any wins after their expenses?  I think this is far to much. It should only be 5 or 10 percent and they should cover their own expenses out of that. 
    33% - That’s only if you hire a lawyer “on contingency”. Plaintiffs are allowed to hire on contingency but defendants can’t because they don’t get any financial winnings. Haven’t you watched any movies where the lawyers are “billing” their clients? That happens when they are NOT working on contingency. That 33% value can also be negotiated. It’s America - everything can be negotiated. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    genovelle said:
    Anilu_777 said:

    Don’t lawyers take 33% of any wins after their expenses?  I think this is far to much. It should only be 5 or 10 percent and they should cover their own expenses out of that. 
    33% - That’s only if you hire a lawyer “on contingency”. Plaintiffs are allowed to hire on contingency but defendants can’t because they don’t get any financial winnings. Haven’t you watched any movies where the lawyers are “billing” their clients? That happens when they are NOT working on contingency. That 33% value can also be negotiated. It’s America - everything can be negotiated. 
    All percentages are negotiable. Doesn’t matter what they claim is their standard rate.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    Wow, juist wow. They’re even trying to make Android more like Android.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    This essentially means one thing: even if Apple allowed side loading on iOS, which they should never do, this wouldn’t stop. So whatever happens, Apple should never allow side loading.
    Dogpersonmattinozwatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 20 of 22
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 56unconfirmed, member
    So I guess everyone thinks Google and apple should lose money or have to pay out of pocket To run the servers necessary to harvest all the App’s data and transaction info for the millions of people accessing it at any moment? Are we not allowed to make profit? Are we not allowed to have innovation and prosperity? I guess the innovation these days is to see who can come up with the best lawsuit against the biggest companies in the world. I call BS
    watto_cobra
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