Antitrust Suit Accuses Google of Hampering Search Innovation.
A recently new class action lawsuit has claimed that Google has been making secret deals with mobile device manufacturers to maintain and widen an illegal search monopoly. The nationwide antitrust suit, which was originally filed in a U,S, District Court in California, claims that Google has required companies such as Samsung and HTC to preload its application into Android phones through a secret pack that been dubbed Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADA).
The MADA was said to be hidden and marked for reading by lawyers only. The lawsuit claims that the agreements have successfully impeded that competition and pushed the price for Android phones.
“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 of consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman. “Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licenses to pre-load popular Google apps like this.”
The agreements were said to have allowed Google to corner 87 percent of the mobile search market. Lawyers have claimed that MADAs violated federal and state antitrust laws such as the Sherman Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the California Cartwright Act and the California Unfair Competition Law.
“This comes down to a combination of Google’s power in the U.S. general mobile search market and their power in the realm of tablet and smartphone manufacturers … As a result of the pricing conspiracy, everyone loses. Google and its competitors face an uncompetitive, stagnant market, and consumers are forced into one option,” Berman said.
The plaintiffs for this lawsuit are Gary Feitelson of Louisville Kentucky and Daniel Mckee of Des Moines, Iowa. Feitelon owns HTC Evo 3D and while Mckee has purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3. Both have stated that their mobile devices should have costed less and come along with better search capabilities.
This wouldn’t be the firs time that antitrust allegations have been lodged against Google. Last year. the company has agreed to create changes on its search business as to avoid any federal antitrust lawsuit. As part of this deal, Google has agreed to consent order that prohibits it from seeking injunctions against rivals.