Hagens Berman, a consumer rights law firm, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Google, claiming "the search engine giant illegally monopolized, and financially and creatively stagnated the American market of internet and mobile search." Do they have a case?
The lawsuit accuses Google of creating secret "Mobile Application Distribution Agreements." Berman believes these agreements were hidden from the public, only available for view to the legal team, and that the secret agreements are key to the monopoly: "Google’s monopoly of these markets stems from the company’s purchasing of Android mobile operating system to maintain and expand its monopoly by pre-loading its own suite of applications onto the devices by way of secret [agreements]." Berman goes on to state that Google's role in making their own apps preloaded (such as Google Play and YouTube) hurt the market, artificially inflating prices for competitors Samsung and HTC.
Steven Berman, founding partner at Hagens Berman and the representative attorney, said, “It’s clear that Google has not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine, but through its strategic, anti-competitive placement [...] Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licenses to pre-load popular Google apps like this.”