(The Center Square) – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said he is joining the attorneys general from three dozen other states in a federal lawsuit against Google, claiming the tech giant uses monopolistic practices to prevent competition.
“An investigation joined by 37 state attorneys general revealed that Google is abusing its market control in the digital economy through Google Play, an app store that comes pre-installed on nearly every Android device,” Rokita said in a statement. “Through contractual restraints, technical barriers and deception, Google inhibits competition by obstructing reasonable alternative means of downloading apps.”
In-app purchases through Google requires the use of its own payment processing service, which comes with a 30% fee.
“This is yet another example of a big tech company harming Hoosiers through unfair practices,” Rokita said. “All businesses certainly have the right to seek competitive advantages and maximize their own profits, but in pursuing these goals they must also comply with anti-trust laws and consumer protection statutes. Competition is an important part of our economy that protects consumers.”
Also participating in the lawsuit are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Rokita also said he began an investigation in April regarding the censorship practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter. Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit over that matter last week.
For its part, Google dismissed the lawsuit as “meritless” in a statement.
“This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers,” the company said. “It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it.”
Google also said the changes sought by the plaintiffs risk “rising costs for small developers, impeding their ability to innovate and compete, making apps across the Android ecosystem less secure for consumers.”
A federal judge in the state of Washington earlier through out an antitrust suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission against Google, saying the agency had not presented enough evidence that the company qualifies as a monopoly.
Google is also currently facing three other similar lawsuits, including one filed by the Department of Justice and 14 states saying that the company dominates the mobile search market.
Some 38 states have also filed a separate suit over the same issue, and 15 other states have filed suit regarding Google’s dominance in advertising technology.