More States Join Antitrust Case Against Google

If the Google Play Store is such a valuable resource, why is there such a big antitrust case against Google concerning it? After all, if you could name one indispensable platform in every Android phone ๐Ÿ“ฑ, it might be the store. Most newly purchased phones come with the pre-installed application, which is the main platform for accessing and downloading various mobile applications.

Aside from applications, Google Play Store is a one-stop shop for all sorts of digital content such as movies ๐Ÿ“บ, books ๐Ÿ“–, and music ๐ŸŽผ. But now, Google Play Store is under fire. Here are the basics of the case, as well as what it might cost one of the most powerful tech giants in the world.

Google’s Legal Woes

Similar to any giant tech companies like Facebook, Google faces lots of legal problems ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš–๏ธ. Just last year, attorneys general in 35 states filed three lawsuits against Google. This was because the tech company allegedly used antitrust competitive behavior to preserve and implicitly market its search advertising monopolies.

Moreover, just this month, a new lawsuit similar to that of Appleโ€™s was filed because Google allegedly abused its power over app developers through unfair charges ๐Ÿ’ฐ. As of the moment, Google Play Store ๐ŸŽฎ is facing four antitrust lawsuits initiated by the US government since last year. Yikes.

Basics of the Antitrust Case

Let’s start with what an antitrust case is. The US government developed antitrust laws, also referred to as competition laws, to promote consumer welfare from unfair business practices and competition. These laws are enacted to provide a level playing field for businesses. They are also supposed to prevent any nefarious activity for the sake of gaining and maximizing profit ๐Ÿ’ฐ.

Antitrust laws cover a wide range of business activities such as, but not limited to, monopolies, price-fixing, and bidding ๐Ÿ’ต.

The Three Types of US Antitrust Laws

In the United States of America, there are three most popular antitrust laws. These are the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Antitrust Act. 

  • The Sherman Antitrust Act ๐Ÿ“ƒ prevents unreasonable โ€œcontract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade. It also bans “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.”
  • The Federal Trade Commission Act aims to โ€œprevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.โ€
  • The Clayton Antitrust Act bans unethical business ๐Ÿšซ practices such as โ€œanti-competitive mergers, predatory and discriminatory pricing, and other forms of unethical corporate behavior.โ€

All three antitrust laws boil down โฌ‡๏ธ to setting standards for ethical business operations. These protect ๐Ÿ’ช the consumers against market manipulation for the purpose of profit maximization ๐Ÿ’ฐ. 

Google’s Four Antitrust Cases

The US Department of Justice filed the first case last October 2020 along with 11 Republican attorneys general ๐Ÿง‘โ€โš–๏ธ. The complaint stated that Google went through great lengths to become the default search engines โŒจ๏ธ. The lawsuit claims that the tech giant used antitrust competitive behavior to preserve and implicitly market its search advertising monopolies.

Meanwhile, the second case ๐Ÿ“ was led by the attorneys general from Colorado and Nebraska. Unlike the first case, this lawsuit is focused on โ€œGoogling.โ€ This refers to the monopoly over general search, or prioritizing some search results for profit.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led the third antitrust case ๐Ÿ“. Paxton said that โ€œGoogle repeatedly used its monopolistic power to control pricing, engage in market collisions to rig auctions in a tremendous violation of justice” via a Twitter video.

Lastly, the fourth antitrust case ๐Ÿ“ claimed that Google used anticompetitive barriers. It allegedly used these to make sure it distributes more than 90% of the apps on Android devices ๐Ÿ“ฑ. Complainants define this as an illegal monopoly ๐Ÿ“ต. Furthermore, the abuse of power, they say, hurt consumer welfare.

At this moment, the four antitrust cases have gathered lots of support. The attorneys general ๐Ÿง‘โ€โš–๏ธ of 36 states as well as the District of Columbia are advocates. 

What Will Happen Now?

Lawsuits concerning giant tech companies are not โŒ going to be an easy and quick fight. The courts will take time to reach a decision, and no one knows what the result will be.

These giant companies ๐Ÿข assert that their business practices do not cross the line. They can also have top-of-the-line lawyers ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš–๏ธ on their side. In fact, Facebook just recently triumphed when a federal judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit.

Whether Google will have the same fate as Facebook or not is something we cannot answer for now. But one thing is for sure: lawsuits like this are here to stay.

If you think one of the big tech companies is engaging in antitrust or similar behavior, you may want legal advice. Contact us today to learn about your options and protect your rights as a consumer.