Hagens Berman, consumer rights law firm, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Google claiming the company violated monopoly laws. The suit alleges that Google made its browser the default option for Android devices per its Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) contracts and not through lawful competition.
Since Android can be used independent of the Google suit of apps, Hagens Berman is alleging that Google knowingly saturated the market with its services, creating a monopoly of internet searches and subsequent browsing patterns and commercial ads since the MADA’s are not as open as Google claims they are:
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Google’s monopoly of these markets stems from the company’s purchasing of Android mobile operating system (Android OS) to maintain and expand its monopoly by pre-loading its own suite of applications onto the devices by way of secret Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADA). According to the suit, these agreements were hidden and marked to be viewed only by attorneys.
Further, the suit alleges that in stagnating growth in the Android community, Google doesn’t have to provide a better search engine – it can just do so through total Android market saturation:
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.
Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licenses to pre-load popular Google apps like this.
Google rebutted saying, “Anyone can use Android without Google and anyone can use Google without Android. Since Android’s introduction, greater competition in smartphones has given consumers more choices at lower prices.”