Google is facing another lawsuit over its alleged illegal monopoly after a US judge approved class action against its Google Play app store.
The complaint says the tech giant broke US anti-competition laws in the way it operates its store.
California US District Judge James Donato made the ruling.
The suit states the plaintiffs proved the legal elements of “commonality” and other conditions in order to file a class action alleging anticompetitive business practices.
Individual Google Play Store users from 12 states form the class members.
It includes Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
The lawsuit is one of several antitrust cases against Google that are currently underway.
Last year, state prosecutors in more than a dozen other states filed similar charges against Google.
The lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the newly recognized class action are collaborating with those state enforcers.
Plaintiffs have identified $4.7 billion in total damages across the country.
Google has defended its Play Store business operations, dismissing the charges made by Donato and others in the case.
A spokesperson for Google said: “We’re evaluating the ruling, and after that, we’ll assess our options.”
Lawyers for the corporation at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in the US did not immediately reply to a message requesting comment.
Attorneys for Google argued against class-action certification, claiming that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how they were damaged, which Donato rejected.
A lead attorney for the class at plaintiffs’ firm Bartlit Beck declined to comment.
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The class attorneys say Google restricted app developers from directing users to rivals.
They add that the company used “misleading warnings to deter customers from downloading apps outside the Google Play Store.”
They claimed that “but for Google’s anticompetitive conduct, plaintiffs and class members would have paid lower prices for apps and in-app purchases and would have benefited from expanded choice.”
The trial is set to commence in June 2023.