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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Google Over Android Apps

 / Updated  / Source: Reuters
Image: Google
A federal judge in California said consumers failed to show that higher smartphone prices stemmed from Google's having illegally forced restrictive contracts on handset makers. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP - Getty Images

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers that use its Android operating system to make the search engine company's own applications the default option. Consumers claimed that Google required companies such as Samsung Electronics to favor Google apps such as YouTube on Android-powered phones, and restrict rival apps such as Microsoft's Bing. They said this illegally drove smartphone prices higher because rivals could not compete for the "prime screen real estate" that Google's apps enjoyed. But in Friday's decision, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California, said the consumers failed to show that higher prices stemmed from Google's having illegally forced restrictive contracts on the handset makers. She also said she could not tell how many supply chain levels there were between the handset makers who signed the alleged anticompetitive contracts, and the consumers themselves. The judge gave the plaintiffs three weeks to amend claims under the federal Sherman antitrust law and California's unfair competition law.

Robert Lopez, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Aaron Stein, a Google spokesman, declined to comment.

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