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July 8, 2021

CT among dozens of states suing Google over app store policies

Photo | Office of Attorney General William Tong Attorney General William Tong.

Connecticut has joined a coalition of 37 states suing tech giant Google for allegedly using its app store to shut down competition in the Android app market.

In a statement, Attorney General William Tong accused the California-based conglomerate of using exclusionary and unfair business practices to maintain the primacy and profits of the Google Play Store, the main distributor of applications running on the Android mobile operating system and Chrome OS.

“When Google first launched the Android platform, they promised it would be open source and allow developers to create and distribute apps without unnecessary restriction,” Tong said. “They broke that promise. As soon as they had a critical mass of customers, they enforced a series of restraints and restrictions that locked out competition and forced use of their own products.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in California, argues that Google’s practice of requiring mobile device manufacturers to sign contracts stating they will not sell or implement non-Google versions of Android is monopolistic and a betrayal of the system’s open source origins, which Google used as a selling point to boost adoption of the software. The plaintiff states also criticized Google for flagging apps downloaded outside of the Google Play Store as unsafe, requiring the preloading of its proprietary apps onto Android devices, taking an up to 30% cut on some in-app purchases and paying device manufacturers and mobile network operators not to develop alternatives to its app marketplace.

This is the second time Connecticut has sued Google over allegedly unfair business tactics.

In December, Tong joined with attorneys general in 37 other states in a lawsuit accusing the company of maintaining illegal monopoly power over search engines and related advertising markets. That case is ongoing.

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