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A federal class action suit filed on Thursday charges that Google’s deals with certain Android device makers hurt competition and violate antitrust laws.

The suit, brought on behalf of two consumers as well as other Android device makers, says that the Mobile Application Distribution Agreements that Google has with device makers that use its Gmail, YouTube and other proprietary apps hurt competition.

“Google’s MADAs are contracts in restraint of trade that are designed to maintain and extend its monopolies in general search and handheld general search,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif. “Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licenses to pre-load popular Google apps on making its search product the default search engine on covered devices.

The so-called MADA contract came up recently in the Apple vs. Samsung suit as Google has agreed to partially indemnify Samsung for some patent claims based on commitments that are part of the contract.

Google freely gives away the open source core of Android, but device makers that want to distribute any of Google’s proprietary applications have to agree to include all of them and agree to other terms.

“Anyone can use Android without Google and anyone can use Google without Android,” Google said in a statement to Re/code. “Since Android’s introduction, greater competition in smartphones has given consumers more choices at lower prices.”

The suit seeks an injunction against Google as well as monetary damages.

More details to come.




4 comments
JMWJMW
JMWJMW

The alleged harm to consumers (per the facts alleged in the complaint) is that Google prevents other companies from subsidizing Android phones.  This would seem to invert what the Sherman Antitrust act is about, preventing higher prices for consumers.

davidtb
davidtb

"The suit, brought on behalf of two consumers as well as other Android device makers"

Who filed the suit?

KenG
KenG

This is just another example of how anyone can sue anyone else for anything, no matter how ridiculous the claim is.


Google is not obligated to share its apps with anyone.  There are plenty of other mail, video, mapping, etc. applications that they are free to use.  Google does not have monopoly power with those applications, and does not prevent anyone from using the open source Android software.  There is no restraint of trade.

Grafttter
Grafttter

@davidtb  Nokia. They make Android devices now. Of course its done on the low via Microsoft who has tried this same method to attack Android in Europe.


They failed. And they will fail here also.

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