Dozens of states are suing Google over App Store fees

WASHINGTON – A group of dozens of states and the District of Columbia sued Google on Wednesday over allegations that its mobile app store abuses its market power, amplifying legal challenges facing the internet search giant.

The lawsuit would be the fourth state or federal antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, but the first to scrutinize the company’s lucrative app store. It was appearing in federal court in the Northern District of California, according to a public filing, which showed the lawsuit was being led by Utah, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee.

Mobile app developers have struggled with the way Google makes them use their own system for payments within their products. That system charges a 30 percent commission on top of many transactions, which developers say then forces them to charge higher prices for their services.

Apple, which operates the other big smartphone app store, is also under scrutiny for the cut it takes away from developers for app sales and subscriptions. Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple last year, accusing it of abusing its market power to collect unfairly high commissions from app makers. He is awaiting a decision on the case next month.

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