The antitrust lawsuit filed against Google regarding Android handsets has been dismissed in a California court.
Two complaints filed by U.S. consumers sought a class-action lawsuit against Google, alleging anti-competitive practices in the mobility market. The lawsuit accused the tech giant of forcing the use of Google-related apps on Android devices, and that its Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) allowing device manufacturers to use its free Android mobile operating system “stifles innovation and diminishes consumer choice”.
When handset makers such as Samsung or HTC wish to install Android on their devices, the companies must agree to a MADA, stipulating Google be made the default for all “search access points” for a set period of time. The plaintiffs claimed these agreements “quash competition for default search engines status before it can even begin.” If the anti-competitive agreements didn’t exist, they alleged their phones “would have cost less and had better search capabilities as a result of the competition that would have ensued.”
Google’s lawyers argued the customers were never prevented from switching their default apps, and could have easily used another search engine by simply changing their default settings.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled the plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove any alleged anti-competitive behavior would have resulted in higher handset prices.
Freeman also said,”The Court agrees with Defendant [Google] that there are no facts alleged that would render these threatened injuries [loss of consumer choice and innovation] more concrete than hypothetical, as there are no facts alleged to indicate that Defendant’s conduct has prevented consumers from freely choosing among search products or prevented competitors from innovating.”
The judge has dismissed the antitrust lawsuit, but is granting the plaintiffs three weeks to amend their complaint to seek injunctive relief rather than monetary damages.