Google says new antitrust lawsuit targeting the Play Store is meritless as Android allows...

midian182

Posts: 7,156   +64
Staff member
What just happened? Google is facing its fourth antitrust lawsuit brought by the US government in a year after attorneys general from 36 states and one district sued the company over anti-competitive practices related to the Play Store. In response, Google says the suit is meritless as Android allows apps to be downloaded from rival stores or directly from a developer’s website, unlike iOS.

Google has been slammed with antitrust lawsuits from both the US government and in Europe in recent times. The latest, filed Wednesday, alleges that Google makes it difficult for app developers to distribute their Android apps anywhere other than its Play Store. This ensures Google receives its 30% commission on app purchases. Devs also say they are forced to use the Play Store because Google has “targeted potentially competing app stores.”

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Google has or has tried to secure agreements with handset makers like Samsung and network operators such as Verizon to preload its apps on their devices and to not open their own competing app stores. It also alleges Google tries to keep users away from other stores by warning them they may contain malware—not that the Play Store is free of such things.

“Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google, and only Google, for the millions of applications they may choose to download to their phones and tablets. Worse yet, Google is squeezing the lifeblood out of millions of small businesses that are only seeking to compete. We are filing this lawsuit to end Google’s illegal monopoly power and finally give voice to millions of consumers and business owners.”

Google posted a response stating the ability to sideload apps and the fact that many Android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded makes the suit meritless. “If you don’t find the app you’re looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a rival app store or directly from a developer’s website. We don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do.”

“So it’s strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others. This complaint mimics a similarly meritless lawsuit filed by the large app developer Epic Games, which has benefitted from Android’s openness by distributing its Fortnite app outside of Google Play.”

Google also notes that Android devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet come preloaded with a competitive app store and no Google Play Store.

“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,” Google concluded. “Doing so risks raising costs for small developers, impeding their ability to innovate and compete, and making apps across the Android ecosystem less secure for consumers.”

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,112   +2,104
I really don't like that "Sideloading" is going to become a golden standard when in reality it's like a bare minimum: Back in the Microsoft heyday of anti-trust lawsuits the OS was *always* capable of installing another web browser but the suit was explicitly about having Internet Explorer pre-installed and baked into the OS giving Microsoft an unfair advantage.

Microsoft lost most of those lawsuits by the way. Yet it seems like it was all for nothing: Now Google is basically indirectly fighting Apple asserting sideloading when it's basically a worst version of what we fined Microsoft for in the late 90s and early 2000s and even then it seems like Apple will probably win/outlast the arguments against their "Exclusive store, no sideloading" arguments so the future of computing looks to be a maximum security panopticon from which no one can ever escape.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,233   +7,003
I'm surprised they arn't including the "Anti-competitiveness" issue as well. Applications like Glasswire won't sell through them because of the extremely high percentage they extract.

Now, their response to the new Trump lawsuit is going to be a real belly laugh. Apparently he's another one that doesn't bother to read the fine print .....
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,722   +4,257
For once I agree with google. There is nothing stopping you from using f-droid or the galaxy store or the fire store, or downloading and installing apps directly, as emulator users have done for over a decade and, given the success of fortnite on android, seems to be easy enough for consumers to do en masse. So long as that option remains untouched, there is no way an antitrust of monopoly power is going to fly. There mere existence of competitive stores will kill the suit in record time.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 883   +1,678
I think that at this point, google should simply grab the app store, android and lock it to Pixels only.

Given that apple is getting away with far worse, but the excuse used by them and the rabid cult members is “our device, our rules”.

Google was really stupid in selling Motorola.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,525   +4,912
Also true. Made me think of that one lawyer ad I saw on 4chan awhile back:

“Did you do it? You still aren’t guilty!”
I am surprised that there is, apparently, no lawyer with a 1-800-SUESOMEONE phone number. 🤣
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,112   +2,104
True, but with how many ads I see for lawyers, I feel that they are just as guilty.
I often do wonder why did we let a profession justify itself in such a circular ways: You need a lawyer because defending yourself is too complicated without a lawyer, which is why you need a lawyer because of other people's lawyers and they need lawyers because of your lawyers and so on and so forth.

It does seems to be mostly profitable for them and not very cost effective at resolving litigation.
 

Chemicalfacist

Posts: 45   +35
I really don't like that "Sideloading" is going to become a golden standard when in reality it's like a bare minimum: Back in the Microsoft heyday of anti-trust lawsuits the OS was *always* capable of installing another web browser but the suit was explicitly about having Internet Explorer pre-installed and baked into the OS giving Microsoft an unfair advantage.

Microsoft lost most of those lawsuits by the way. Yet it seems like it was all for nothing: Now Google is basically indirectly fighting Apple asserting sideloading when it's basically a worst version of what we fined Microsoft for in the late 90s and early 2000s and even then it seems like Apple will probably win/outlast the arguments against their "Exclusive store, no sideloading" arguments so the future of computing looks to be a maximum security panopticon from which no one can ever escape.
What?
 

stewi0001

Posts: 2,669   +2,349
I often do wonder why did we let a profession justify itself in such a circular ways: You need a lawyer because defending yourself is too complicated without a lawyer, which is why you need a lawyer because of other people's lawyers and they need lawyers because of your lawyers and so on and so forth.

It does seems to be mostly profitable for them and not very cost effective at resolving litigation.
As I always say, in a lawsuit, the lawyers always win.
 

bviktor

Posts: 493   +822
I really don't like that "Sideloading" is going to become a golden standard when in reality it's like a bare minimum: Back in the Microsoft heyday of anti-trust lawsuits the OS was *always* capable of installing another web browser but the suit was explicitly about having Internet Explorer pre-installed and baked into the OS giving Microsoft an unfair advantage.

Microsoft lost most of those lawsuits by the way. Yet it seems like it was all for nothing: Now Google is basically indirectly fighting Apple asserting sideloading when it's basically a worst version of what we fined Microsoft for in the late 90s and early 2000s and even then it seems like Apple will probably win/outlast the arguments against their "Exclusive store, no sideloading" arguments so the future of computing looks to be a maximum security panopticon from which no one can ever escape.
And again, why would I want to "escape" it? I like iOS BECAUSE of its restrictiveness, not DESPITE of it.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,112   +2,104
And again, why would I want to "escape" it? I like iOS BECAUSE of its restrictiveness, not DESPITE of it.

Which version of iOS you like best? The latest? Do you think each new version is basically adding more and greater features?

Because all of them have been available either natively or through apps on Android for years.

So if I *wanted* to just try out something like an App group/drawer, you think it's ok that the logic should be "No, can't have that because Apple decided you're not ready for it" or "Well it's probably not gonna be very well integrated but I still want to at least TRY a third party app grouping menu"?

To me your argument holds no value unless you're willing to go back 5 or 6 years on iOS and never receive any updates but security. Don't get me wrong I'm sure you could manage and even enjoy it, but you can't have it both ways and claim the newer versions are better and more functional when they're literally years behind what you can do on Android, thanks to a less restrictive environment.

Yes it has it's price, yes these are things mostly just power users care about, but well we *are* on a tech website and forum it's fairly safe to assume that's gonna be all of the audience here.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,717   +1,322
Google are being shady or “anti-consumer” as it were. Yes they allow side loading. But almost all Android powered phones have a EULA that voids your warranty if you sideload an app and they know that. They will try and push this away to the OEMs as it’s their EULAs usually. And the OEMs don’t care about you. Most of them don’t even give their users proper updates.

Oh well, you’d have to have a really low IQ to pick an Android phone over an iPhone at this point. You deserve all the problems Android phones get that iPhones don’t if in 2021 if you make that ridiculous decision.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,864   +797
They should be sued for not providing at least 5 years worth of support for all Android devices. Granted the costs might go up or we might have fewer choices of devices, but the quality and durability should rise as well.
 
I really don't like that "Sideloading" is going to become a golden standard when in reality it's like a bare minimum

I am interesting in knowing, say if "Sideloading" becomes the norm would it mean all Hardware makers would have to comply with it? Does that mean people would also sideload Steam or Epic Store on Playstation, XBOX, Nintendo Switch aswell?
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,112   +2,104
I am interesting in knowing, say if "Sideloading" becomes the norm would it mean all Hardware makers would have to comply with it? Does that mean people would also sideload Steam or Epic Store on Playstation, XBOX, Nintendo Switch aswell?
Depends on how far you stretch "comply"

It might mean that you can drop in files to be run on an xbox one but we know it doesn't runs regular windows executable binaries and uses the windows store so they wouldn't be obligated to develop support for those it would still be up to the enthusiast or software devs.

Bare minimum in this case would be for Microsoft to make basic documentation for the APIs and such available, not to implement new ones just to accommodate sideloaders.