Dozens of states prepare to sue Google over app store practices

The suit alleges that Google abused its dominance in the mobile ecosystem to favor its own Google Play Store and reduce competition.


Dozens of states are set to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google that zeroes in on its app store practices, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The suit, which could be filed as early as Wednesday, alleges that Google abused its dominance in the mobile ecosystem to favor its own Google Play Store, reducing competition in the process, the person said. The suit also takes aim at the fees that Google charges developers for in-app purchases, according to the source.

Bloomberg was first to report the lawsuit. It is unclear which states are involved in the suit.

Court records reviewed by CNN Business on Wednesday showed that a case against Google had been opened in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, though no complaint was immediately available.

The allegations mark the latest legal headache for Google, which is already facing multiple antitrust suits by the federal government and the states. They also reflect rising criticism by app developers and regulators who have increasingly scrutinized Google's and Apple's app stores in the mobile technology space.

Google could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday evening.

News of the lawsuit was met with some cheers. For instance, the Coalition for App Fairness — a nonprofit industry organization whose members include Spotify, Tile and Match Group — said it supports the lawsuit.

"App stores have been given a free pass to abuse their dominant market position for far too long," the group said. "Their anti-competitive policies stifle innovation, inhibit consumer freedom, inflate costs, and limit transparent communication between developers and their customers."