The plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google have dropped their case after losing in an initial ruling. Just over a month ago, we reported on Google's win. The federal judge overseeing the case ruled in Google's favor, but the plaintiffs had one last chance to change their arguments before the case was closed. Instead, they have decided to withdraw.
A group of consumers accused Google of anticompetitive practices in the distribution of Android due to the stipulation that their search engine must be default in order for the OEM to load the Play Store on devices. The problem here, the plaintiffs allege, is that this precludes competing search providers from being default. Of course they are right about that, but is that evidence of illegal practices that are demonstrably harmful to consumers?
The judge said no. The plaintiffs could not offer good enough proof that this practice resulted in higher prices for consumers. Google's best argument against the claim was the preponderance of devices that run Android without the Play Store, showing that it was indeed both possible and commercially viable. Amazon is the standout in this regard. If you want to make Bing the default search engine on an Android phone or tablet, the winning argument goes, you can do that.
This isn't a big surprise, given that the US is not apt to overreach in these sorts of issues compared to many other jurisdictions. Keep an eye on a similar case, levied by search competitor Yandex, in Russia.