AGs File Amended Complaint in States’ Antitrust Case Against Google

On Saturday, a coalition of state attorneys general filed an amended complaint in their antitrust suit against Google. The lawsuit, which alleges violation of the Sherman Act and its monopoly and restraint-of-trade provisions, has the same causes of action found in the original complaint, which was filed in July 2021. The newly amended complaint provides many of the same factual allegations to bolster the prior allegations, but now those facts are unredacted. 

As noted in previous coverage, the lawsuit was brought by co-lead plaintiff attorney Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes — along with attorneys general from 36 other states, including New York, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington — alleging that Google used its market dominance to unfairly restrict competition in the areas of the Google Play Store, the Android ecosystem, in-app payment systems, and restrictions on app developers. Beyond seven claims under the Sherman Act, both the original and amended complaint include state-specific claims under the plaintiffs’ 37 state laws.

The primary differences between the original complaint and the amended complaint — both 144 pages — are the removal of redactions. As such, the newly amended complaint provides additional insights into several of the plaintiffs’ additional factual allegations, making them publicly viewable. 

For example, page 26 now quotes an internal Google report that “Play Store dominates in all countries.” Page 28 now includes the formerly redacted claim that Google has been waging “an arms race to prevent sideloading.” Page 47 now includes allegations that “Google also fostered Samsung’s ‘tighter and long-term integration with Play’ to make competition in Android app distribution less attractive to Samsung.”

Other now-unredacted language included Google’s alleged statement that Android industry participants would have ““(f)ull control of (their) brand and business.” Page 27 includes new factual allegations mentioning the Samsung and Amazon app stores. 

Beyond removing textual redactions, the amended complaint also provided additional factual support for the state AGs’ claims by making visible numerous figures and images.  

The amended complaint retained all of its primary claims and allegations, including that Google should keep its promise that it would keep Android “open source,” enabling developers to more-easily create and distribute apps. It also continued the prior complaint’s allegations that Google 30% commission for apps and in-app content distributed through the Play Store are supercompetitive.

The defendant Google entities are represented by Morgan Lewis.