NC’s Stein helping lead coalition of attorneys general suing Google for antitrust violations

North Carolina

This April 26, 2017 file photo shows the Google mobile phone icon, in Philadelphia. Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, reports financial results, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Google’s digital advertising network has shifted back into high gear after an unprecedented reversal during the early stages of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, along with 37 other attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against Google over antitrust violations, a news release said Wednesday.

Stein is among the leaders of the lawsuit, which alleges that Google harmed customers by “using its dominance to unfairly restrict competition with Google Play Store, limiting their choices and driving up app prices,” the release said.

According to the news release, allegations include:

  • Google broke its promise to app developers and device manufacturers that it would keep its Android operating system open source, which allows developers to create compatible apps and distribute them without unnecessary restrictions. Google hasn’t allowed Android to be open source for many years.
  • Google imposes technical barriers that discourage or effectively prevent third-party app developers from distributing apps outside the Google Play Store.
  • Google forces its proprietary apps to be pre-loaded on “essentially all devices” that are designed to run on Android, cutting off potential competition.
  • Google forces app developers and users alike to use its payment processing service, Google Play Billing, to process payments for in-app purchases. “By requiring this, Google is able to extract an exorbitant processing fee as high as 30 percent for each transaction, which is more than 10 times as high as the fee charged by Google’s competitors,” the release said.

Stein was also part of a December 2020 antitrust lawsuit against Google over its search monopoly. He also joined a coalition of attorneys general in taking antitrust action against Facebook.

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