36 states launch antitrust suit against Google over the Play Store (update)

Google has yet another antitrust lawsuit on its hands. Politico reports 36 states, and Washington DC have banded together to sue the company over its handling of the Play Store. They say Google’s control over the marketplace violates US antitrust law. The bipartisan group of attorneys general behind the suit filed the case in the same California federal court where Judge James Donato is scheduled to hire Epic’s lawsuit against Google over Fortnite’s removal from the Play Store last year. This latest action is the fourth antitrust lawsuit launched against Google following three similar claims in 2020. In December, 38 states and territories led by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser filed antitrust charges against the company over its search business. The tech giant is also the subject of a Department of Justice probe.

The timing of Wednesday’s suit follows after Google recently lowered its Play Store commission fee to 15 percent on the first $1 million developers earn on the marketplace every year. When Google announced the change in March, it claimed it would reduce its fees from 99 percent of Android developers by 50 percent. Later this year, Google also plans to enforce a policy requiring all developers to process their payments through the Play Store’s billing system. The announcement uprooted companies like Netflix and Spotify that had previously skirted that requirement.


While the Play Store comes pre-installed on most Android devices, it is not the only place you can download software to your phone. Amazon and Samsung operate their app stores. It’s also possible to sideload Android apps from websites like APK Mirror, bypassing the Play Store altogether. Both those facts are not actual for iOS devices, where Apple’s App Store is the only place you can download software for your iPhone or iPad. Today’s suit also comes a little more than a week after a federal judge in Washington dismissed the FTC’s antitrust complaint against Facebook, saying the agency hadn’t presented sufficient evidence to back up its claims that the social media giant is a monopoly.

Update 07/07/21 10:30 PM ET: Colorado has joined the lawsuit against Google, bringing the total number of states to 37. The tech giant has published a blog post defending its practices, however, calling the case “strange” and “meritless” for “attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others.” Google’s Senior Director of Public Policy, Wilson White, concluded the post with this note: “This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers. It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it.” Our editorial team, independent of our parent company, selects all products Engadget recommends. Some of our stories include affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through one of these links.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!