Antitrust lawsuit against Google withdrawn by plaintiffs

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An antitrust lawsuit against Google which accused the search giant of forcing Android device owners to use Google’s applications the default option has finally been withdrawn.

According to the class action lawsuit, filed by two smartphone customers in May 2014, Google forced Android handset owners to use its own applications like Google Search, Google Maps or YouTube instead of applications by Microsoft’s Bing or other rivals. This as a result led to higher smartphone prices as rivals cannot compete for the “prime screen real estate” that Google’s own apps enjoy, plaintiffs Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee had alleged.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, however, dismissed the lawsuit on Feb. 20 as the plaintiffs failed to show sufficient evidence to prove that the practices adopted by Google had led to a rise in prices or stifled creativity in any manner.

The judge had given the plaintiffs three weeks’ time to amend their complaint under the federal Sherman antitrust law and California’s unfair competition law.

On Friday, Google said that Android handsets could be used without Google.

“Since Android’s introduction, greater competition in smartphones has given consumers more choices at lower prices,” Google spokesman Aaron Stein said in an email to Reuters.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are yet to comment on the report.