EU’s antitrust division is investigating Google Play Store practices

EU’s antitrust division is investigating Google Play Store practices
Image Credits: The New York Times

The rumors were true after all.

A recent regulatory filing revealed that Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store is the target of an EU antitrust investigation, one that may lead to another billion-euro fine.

The quarterly earnings filing, dated October 25th, said the investigation into Google Play’s business practices was opened in May 2022 by both the European Commission and the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Over the last decade, Google has incurred 8.25 billion euros ($8.24 billion) in EU antitrust fines following three investigations into its business practices. Its two most recent fines were incurred this year in Australia and South Korea.

The investigation is trying to find out whether Google’s threat to remove apps from its Play Store if app developers use other payment options instead of its own billing system has hurt app developers.

Developers have also complained about the steep 30% cut applied to in-app purchases, and about its algorithm, which inherently favors the company’s native apps over others made by competitors which may prove to be better performers, showing them as the first result in user app store searches.

The investigation is aligned with a recent EU legislation that aims, among various proactive provisions, to regulate the overall fairness of app store conditions.

Google is still fighting earlier fines as it prepares to face new ones. Last Thursday, Google said it will appeal its record 4.1-billion-euro ($4.10 billion) EU antitrust fine at Europe’s top court after a lower tribunal threw out its challenge last month. 

“We are preparing our appeal. The deadline for the court is December 1st,” a Google spokesperson said.

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