Dozens of states are suing Google over app store practices

Google Play store

Dozens of states have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google that zeroes in on its app store practices.

The suit alleges that Google abused its dominance in the mobile ecosystem to favor its own Google Play Store, reducing competition in the process. The suit also takes aim at the fees that Google charges developers for in-app purchases.

Bloomberg was first to report the lawsuit.

Court records reviewed by CNN Business on Wednesday showed that the case against Google has been opened in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The District of Columbia and 36 states are named as participants, including New York, California, Colorado, Utah, Massachusetts and others.

The allegations mark the latest legal headache for Google, which is already facing multiple antitrust suits by the federal government and the states. They also reflect rising criticism by app developers and regulators who have increasingly scrutinized Google’s and Apple’s app stores in the mobile technology space.

Google could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday evening.

News of the lawsuit was met with some cheers. For instance, the Coalition for App Fairness — a nonprofit industry organization whose members include Spotify, Tile and Match Group — said it supports the lawsuit.

“App stores have been given a free pass to abuse their dominant market position for far too long,” the group said. “Their anti-competitive policies stifle innovation, inhibit consumer freedom, inflate costs, and limit transparent communication between developers and their customers.”

In the spring, Apple and Epic Games faced off in a non-jury trial over whether Apple holds a monopoly on iOS app sales and has abused its power against app makers. Epic, the maker of the online video game “Fortnite,” had sought to circumvent Apple’s proprietary in-app payment system that allows the iPhone maker to take a 30% cut of digital goods and services sold on iOS. That led to a contractual dispute that prompted Apple to remove Fortnite from its app store, ultimately leading to Epic’s lawsuit, which could disrupt Apple’s business model.

Apple argued at trial that it competes vigorously to distribute video game apps, including Fortnite. A decision in the case is expected in the coming months.