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Richard J. Lambert was named by Best Lawyers® as a 2021 Corporate Law “Lawyer of the Year.”

Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Only one lawyer in each practice area in a given community is honored as “Lawyer of the Year.”

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Google accused of abusing market power

All business owners want the best for their business, and many will go to great lengths to get ahead. Unfortunately, the better you do, the more competitive things get and it can be easy to step on people’s toes. When a company is deemed to have acted unfairly, it can lead to costly business disputes as competitors seek to level the playing-field and consumers resist the costly effects of prices driven up. As many New Jersey business owners know, new initiatives are often a gamble, but it is important to stand your ground in the face of opposition.

In a recent high-profile case, Google faces litigation over claims of anticompetitive behavior. According to the accusations, Google has been monopolizing the Android app market with mobile application distribution agreements. These agreements require manufacturers to place Google applications in prominent locations on device screens.

As a result, users are confronted with a multitude of Google applications before they can even think about looking for alternatives from competitors. It is also possible that users will assume that Google applications have been deemed superior by manufacturers because they come preloaded on devices. However, it can also be argued that users expect to be provided with a full set of applications when they purchase a phone or tablet.

The lawsuit suggests that the company’s extreme market power makes manufacturers feel pressured to enter into the MADAs. In turn it suggests that Android phones are more expensive than they might otherwise be because other companies cannot compete for the space that Google’s apps have laid claim to under the agreements. Opponents have also voiced concern over the apparent secrecy surrounding these agreements.

It is a complicated matter, but one that highlights an important issue for business owners everywhere, including in New Jersey. Alliances formed by contractual agreements with other companies can be very beneficial, but they must be handled with care. If you are being challenged over your business dealings, or if you feel another company has acted unfairly, it is essential to stand up for your business interests. An attorney may be able to help you determine where you stand and help you reach a fair resolution in the best interests of your company.

Source: PC World, “Secret Google deals made Android phones more expensive, lawsuit claims,” Jeremy Kirk, May 2, 2014

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