News came out this week that Hagens Berman, the same Seattle-based law firm that initiated the class action lawsuits against Apple for its role in the anti-trust violations and price fixing collusion with the now-Big Five publishers, has filed a suit against Google, alleging anti-trust violations that led the search engine and tech powerhouse to hold an illegal monopoly in North America. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, all stems from Google’s purchase of the Android operating system, meaning that it holds consumers hostage if they wish to have any alternative to iOS. The attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that Google’s pre-loading of its suite of apps into the operating system leaves consumers no choice in making future purchases.
“It’s clear that Google has not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine, but through its strategic, anti-competitive placement, and it doesn’t take a forensic economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation,” said Steve Berman, the attorney representing consumers and a founding partner of Hagen Berman, in a press release this week. “Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licenses to pre-load popular Google apps like this.”
The suit goes on to state that Google’s distribution agreements requires third parties to default to Google as their search engine, essentially weakening the power of the internet. Ironically, the firm feels that this strict adherence requirement not only hinders outside companies, but Google as well. The suit seeks damages on behalf of all US-based Android users.