The antitrust lawsuit against Google filed by two consumers has been dismissed by US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman. At the heart of the case, the plaintiff’s lawyers claimed not only that Google had illegal restrictive contracts with Android device manufacturers, but that these contracts stifled competition and drove up prices of all Android devices. The two complainants actually sought a class-action lawsuit against Google. The case was dismissed as the Judge said that there was no established display of consumers being harmed by Google’s Android manufacturer contracts.
In breaking down the plaintiff’s claims, they allege that Google had contracts with Android device manufacturers like Samsung. The alleged contracts mandated that Google-owned apps like Google Maps and Chrome be the default options for the device. They also claim Google restricted access to competitor’s software like Bing by Microsoft. Like all antitrust lawsuits, this one hinges on the connection between suppressed competition and increased pricing. The plaintiff’s lawyers claimed that the practice limited competition and suppressed innovation while resulting in higher prices these devices, but the judge ruled that no link was established to phone pricing.
Google’s lawyers claimed that customers were never prevented from switching their default apps. Customers could have easily used another search engine or simply changed their default settings. While the plaintiff’s lawyers claim that this contract prevented other companies for paying for default status. This what they claim is an established monetary connection. The plaintiff’s logic is that if outside companies could pay for their apps to have default status on a phone, then the phone’s price would go down. This assumes many things, including that the cost saving would be passed on to the consumer level at all.
The judge may have dismissed this antitrust lawsuit, however Google isn’t out of the woods yet. The judge is allowing the plaintiffs three weeks to amend their complaint to seek injunctive relief instead of monetary damages. The plaintiffs must also use a named plaintiff from the state of California in the amended claims.
Source: The Recorder