Alphabet (NASDAQ:) was down 1.8% in Thursday’s premarket trading, a day after several states took it to court alleging the company operates an illegal monopoly with its Google Play app store.
The suit adds to the pile of litigations against the company in U.S. and Europe over its dominance of search advertising and its ad tech business.
Filed in the U.S. District Court, the suit alleges the company has monopolized the distribution of apps on devices running the Google-owned Android operating system, blocking competition through contracts and technical barriers.
In a blog post, Google said it provides an open operating system in which customers are free to download apps directly from developers’ websites.
While what Google says is true, few users do it, preferring to use its Play Store and in the process elevating it to the status of a gatekeeper for apps that are downloaded to smartphones using its Android operating system. For downloads through its Play Store, Google collects a 15% to 30% service fee on sales from the app owners.
The timing of a trial over the Play store will be determined in the months ahead, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Justice Department’s antitrust suit against Google is scheduled for trial in 2023, targeting its dominant search-engine business. Two other ongoing state antitrust lawsuits are set to begin at about the same time, according to the WSJ.