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Google allegedly tried to buy off Samsung to curb Galaxy Store growth

Allegedly, Google offered Samsung all sorts of perks with the intent to keep the Galaxy Store from gaining more traction.

Published onJuly 8, 2021

Samsung Good Lock Galaxy Store listing
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Information related to Google’s antitrust suits suggests that the company may have tried to curb the growth of the Samsung Galaxy Store.
  • Allegedly, Google offered Samsung large lump sums of cash and partnership perks with the intent of preserving the Play Store’s dominance.
  • Notably, Google did not offer Samsung revenue sharing because that would expose just how lucrative the Play Store is for Google.

Yesterday, 36 states and Washington, D.C. filed a joint antitrust suit against Google. We’ve already covered the news in-depth here and here, so be sure to catch up on that if you haven’t already.

Interestingly, this suit brings to light some information we hadn’t heard until now (via ArsTechnica). Obviously, the suit mostly focuses on Google’s mandated Play Store commissions, which used to be a flat 30% for everyone. However, the suit also focuses on Google’s alleged attempts to use its influence to stymie the efforts of rival app stores on Android.

Related: Android apps on Windows gives us what Google promised all along

Most egregiously, the suit contends that Google allegedly offered Samsung “myriad benefits and concessions in order to prevent Samsung’s Galaxy Store from being built out.” This would be a bold but unsurprising move by Google considering Samsung’s dominance in the smartphone market. With millions of Samsung phones out there and the Galaxy brand being essentially synonymous with Android for many consumers, its store posed a huge threat to the Play Store.

Google allegedly tries to stop Galaxy Store success

Google allegedly offered Samsung exclusive access to apps and games, promoted events on the Play Store, and lucrative YouTube ad spots. The suit even contends Google may have offered to “white label” the Play Store with the Galaxy Store branding.

It also allegedly offered large sums of cash. However, this would have been a replacement for revenue sharing on the Play Store, not a bribe. Interestingly, Google probably didn’t want to offer straight percentages because that would show Samsung just how lucrative the Play Store really is.

Now, none of this is illegal. However, if it ends up being true, it does suggest that Google doesn’t truly believe in its claims that Android is an open platform on which anyone can compete. This information suggests the opposite: if anyone actually becomes a competitor to the Play Store, Google steps in and asserts its dominance.

It will be very interesting to see what other behind-the-scenes tidbits come out of this anti-trust suit.