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Bloomberg / Getty Images

The attorneys general for 36 states and Washington, D.C., sued Google for anticompetitive conduct in its Google Play Store operations that they say harms both consumers and app developers.

Why it matters: This latest lawsuit opens up yet another front in Google's antitrust battles. The giant already faces suits over its search and advertising practices.

Driving the news: In a complaint filed Wednesday in a California federal court, the states argue Google launched its Android mobile operating system as an open source platform, but effectively closed the ecosystem to competition by requiring equipment makers like Samsung and network operators like Verizon to enter into exclusive contracts.

  • The contracts require Google's apps to be pre-loaded on devices that run on Android, and that they be given the most prominent placement on home screens, the attorney generals allege.
  • Google "buys off" potential competition in the market for app distribution by sharing profits with device makers and network operators that don't compete with the Play Store.
  • Google also extracts an "exorbitant processing fee" to take payments for purchases of digital content made in apps obtained through the Google Play Store, the suit says.

What they're saying: "Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet for many years, but, more recently, it has also become the gatekeeper of our digital devices — resulting in all of us paying more for the software we use every day," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

  • "Once again, we are seeing Google use its dominance to illegally quash competition and profit to the tune of billions. Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of Android users turn to Google, and only Google, for the millions of applications they may choose to download to their phones and tablets."
  • The bipartisan lawsuit is led by the attorney generals of New York, Utah, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Flashback: More than 30 states sued Google in December, alleging it abuses a search monopoly. That action came after an October lawsuit by the Justice Department over parallel charges.

  • The tech giant also faces a separate suit by more than a dozen states led by Texas over alleged anticompetitive behavior in the digital advertising market.

Go deeper

Google creates cybersecurity team to help respond to attacks

A Google logo at the company's offices in Berlin in August 2021. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Google announced Tuesday it has created a new cybersecurity team to help respond to and prevent cyberattacks against governments, critical infrastructure managers and other crucial companies.

Why it matters: It said the creation of the team is in response to the recent surge in cyber and ransomware attacks, including the ransomware attempt against the Colonial Pipeline in May and the sprawling SolarWinds breach, which was uncovered in December 2020 but likely existed for months before its discovery.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.