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U.S. antitrust enforcers challenged the mobile app store for the first time, accusing Google Developers who sell through the Play Store built into the Android operating system charge too much.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Federal Court on Wednesday, is the fourth lawsuit against the American search giant in less than a year and the first lawsuit against the smartphone platform of today’s consumer technology center.

So far, Google has received less public criticism than Apple for the fees it charges mobile app developers and the restrictions that prevent developers from avoiding fees. Apple’s App Store has always been a high-profile subject Private antitrust case From epic games.

The case was led by Utah, including 35 other states in the United States and the District of Columbia, Blame Google “Illegal restriction of trade and maintaining monopoly” in the Android application distribution market and the Android application payment market.

Google denied this claim, saying that it is “incorrect” that developers and Android users are forced to use the Play Store. It also indirectly attacked Apple’s own, stricter App Store policies.

Later Wednesday, Google’s senior director of public policy Wilson White stated in a blog post that “a group of state attorneys chose to file a lawsuit and attack a system that offers more openness and choice than other systems. It’s weird.”

States may face an uphill battle in convincing the court that the search giant has a dominant position in the way mobile apps are sold. According to StatCounter data, Android only accounts for 46% of the US smartphone market, while Apple’s iOS accounts for 53%. The difficulty of proving market dominance is seen as one of Epic’s biggest obstacles to prosecuting Apple.

As a sign that U.S. regulators are responding to the challenges faced by tech giants under existing antitrust laws, The case against Facebook Last week, a U.S. judge rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling, partly because regulators failed to adequately define the market the company allegedly dominated. The European Union has decided that it needs an ambitious new law, the Digital Market Act, to break the power of dominant digital platforms, including smartphone app stores.

To prove their point, the states insist that the Android smartphone platform is part of the freely licensed mobile operating system market, which excludes Apple’s iOS. The complaint claims that Android occupies 99% of the market, and Google has adopted “anti-competitive strategies to reduce and inhibit competition in the distribution of Android applications”, enabling it to charge up to 30% of “luxury” commissions.

Google has always believed that, compared with Apple’s rival iPhone platform, the sales of Android apps are more open to competition because it allows rival app stores to coexist with its own Play Store.

White also questioned the attempts by states to narrowly define the app market to prove their point, saying it “completely ignores the competition we face from other platforms, such as Apple’s very successful app store.”

The states stated in their complaints that they tried to define Google’s operating system as an almost independent market, rather than directly competing with the iPhone. American consumers promote and sell their devices.”

They added that Google used this to illegally profit from its own Play Store, closed other Android application distribution channels, and forced developers to use the Play Store’s payment system, thereby triggering automatic commissions.

Paul Gallant, an analyst at Cowen, said that the state’s decision to accept Google instead of Apple may reflect the fact that the investigation is more in-depth. U.S. state and federal regulators may eventually apply the two companies. The program store filed a complaint. He added that, if anything, Google is more “developer-friendly” than Apple because it allows rival app stores and also allows Android users to sideload apps or download them directly instead of through the app store.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said that Google used its “monopoly power and super-dominant market position to illegally use billions of dollars in additional funds from small companies, competitors, and consumers.” , Exceeded the amount payable”.

In December last year, nearly 40 attorneys general sued the company, accusing the company of illegally abusing its search monopoly. Prior to this, a small number of Republican states filed complaints about the company’s advertising technology. Google also faces a search-related complaint from the Department of Justice.

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