Google faces £900M Play Store fees challenge


Google was hit with a legal action in the UK alleging it imposes excessive charges on purchases made through its Play Store, the latest challenge to one of the big-two global app stores.

In a claim filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, legal company Hausfeld and Co argued Google used its market power to stifle competition and required unfairly high fees which weren’t proportional to the cost needed to provide its services.

It sought up to £920 million in damages for what it said were 19.5 million Android device users affected by Google’s pricing practices since 1 October 2015.

Hausfeld and Co asserted a 30 per cent commission rate Google applies to app purchases was “unlawful and unearned tax” which runs contrary to UK and European competition laws.

It also claimed a requirement for Play Store to be pre-installed on Android devices resulted in fewer alternatives for consumers to avoid Google’s charges.

Google defended its practice, telling BBC News its commission was comparable to those levied by its rivals. The company also claimed the lawsuit failed to take into account the benefits offered by its app marketplace and Android OS.

A similar case was filed against Apple in the UK in May.

Earlier this year, Google amended the commission charged on some developers, apparently in response to a challenge by Epic Games filed in 2020.


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