Compensation Claim Against Google for Android Store Delay

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Our EU-based business has experienced an estimated financial loss of €50,000 because of a delayed product launch on the Google Android store. This delay led to a conflict with a prepaid social media campaign aligned with the expected launch date. The delay was a result of Google’s failure to approve our app, and no explanation was communicated during the two-week waiting period.

Considering this situation, can our business pursue a compensation claim against Google under the provisions of the Digital Markets Act that govern approval processes and communication obligations with business users? Moreover, can we investigate whether Google holds the status of a gatekeeper according to the Digital Markets Act’s requirements, which may underlie such a claim?

The user is inquiring about the possibility of pursuing a compensation claim against Google due to a financial loss incurred as a result of a delayed product launch on the Google Android store, allegedly caused by Google’s failure to approve their app in a timely manner. Additionally, the user seeks to establish if Google can be investigated for potentially holding a “gatekeeper” status under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which may impact the legitimacy and strength of such a claim.

  1. Specific Product Details: The exact nature and type of the app (its functionalities, data it processes, market it addresses) are not detailed, which influences the applicability of DMA obligations.
  2. Communication Record: It is unclear what level of communication occurred between the business and Google about the app approval process.
  3. Google’s Policies: The policies and terms that Google sets for approval in its app store are not specified, which could provide context for their obligations and potential breaches.
  4. Prior Agreements: The question does not state whether there was any service-level agreement (SLA) or contract with Google that included timelines for the app’s approval or any explanation duties.
  5. Regulatory Framework at the Time of Incident: It is not mentioned if the incident happened after the DMA became applicable or if there were any intermediary arrangements.

Note: The junior lawyer is what we call a subsystem of Hotseat that completes helper tasks

  1. App Nature: We will assume the app is a standard business software application without any special functionality that could categorize it under a more regulated or sensitive bracket which could affect the approval timeframes.
  2. Communication Record: We assume there was an expected communication protocol outlined by Google which was not adhered to, leading to no explanation about the approval delay.
  3. Google’s Policies: We will assume standard Google Android store policies were in place, which are known to business users utilizing the platform and include timelines and communication requirements for app approval processes.
  4. Prior Agreements: We will assume there were no special agreements or SLAs regarding approval timelines or communication expectations beyond the standard Google Android store policies.
  5. Regulatory Framework: We will assume the DMA is applicable as the regulatory framework, given the user’s explicit mention and request to analyze the situation under the DMA’s provisions.

Plan for the Junior Lawyer:

  • Review the concept and implications of “gatekeeper” by examining the definition and criteria for designation described in Article 3.
  • Assess the scope of “core platform services” and the potential inclusion of digital app stores within this scope according to the Article 2 definition.

Investigating Gatekeeper Status:

  • Determine if Google meets the qualitative and quantitative thresholds for gatekeeper designation based on the criteria in Article 3 and the specified methodology in the Annex.
  • Evaluate the relevance of the specific Articles of the DMA pertaining to gatekeepers’ obligations towards business users, focusing on approval processes and communication, particularly by scrutinizing Article 5 and related sub-articles.

Assessing Remedies and Redress:

  • Explore the scope of enforcement measures and possible redress or penalties for non-compliance with DMA obligations by gatekeepers, with specific attention to Article 29 on non-compliance.
  • Identify procedures outlined in the DMA for business users to lodge complaints against gatekeepers under scenario-based conditions drawn from Article 27.

Criteria Applicable to the Situation:

  • Scrutinize the Articles responsible for delineating responsibilities for product evaluation and approval processes under the DMA, referencing Google’s role as an app store operator if classified as a gatekeeper.
  • Evaluate possibilities for compensation claims for financial losses due to non-compliance with obligations, referencing the general rules and the specific situation detailed by the user in the context of Articles and Recitals of the DMA concerning the fair conduct of gatekeepers.

Collecting Additional Information:

  • Research previous cases or decisions made by the Commission related to approval delays by gatekeepers, using tools like notifications of non-compliance against Google if publicly available, grounded in Articles 30 and 31 for context on fines and periodic penalty payments.

Final Analysis Steps:

  • Compile findings regarding gatekeeper status, obligations, and enforcement mechanisms from the DMA.
  • Draw parallels between the DMA’s outlined gatekeeper responsibilities and the user’s described scenario, detailing the potential applicability of the DMA provisions to the specific case.
  • Formulate a report that includes a review of the relevant Articles and Annexes, the investigation’s findings regarding gatekeeper status, assessment of the incident under the DMA obligations, and an advisory on the likelihood and process of compensation claim viability.

Definitions and Terms from the Digital Markets Act:

  • Gatekeeper: A large online platform operator that holds a significant position in the digital market, effectively acting as a gateway between businesses and consumers.
  • Core Platform Services: A set of online services provided by gatekeepers, which includes search engines, social networking services, and operating systems, among others.
  • Business User: Any natural or legal person acting in a commercial or professional capacity using core platform services to offer goods or services to consumers.
  • Non-compliance: A state or condition of failing to meet the requirements and obligations set forth by the DMA, which can result in enforcement measures or sanctions.

Question Clarity Rating

Somewhat clear

Clarity Rating Explanation

The original question reflects the user’s scenario and business concerns with clarity regarding their intent to explore legal remedies. However, it lacks explicit details about the contractual terms between the user’s business and Google, the user’s preliminary attempts at addressing the issue, and precise information on the user’s eligibility under the DMA. The answer will need to assume that the user has taken reasonable preliminary steps before considering a formal legal avenue, such as direct communication with Google. Given the nature of the DMA and the concept of gatekeepers within it, a more detailed understanding of Google’s obligations and the user’s rights under their service agreement would be beneficial for providing a solid, definitive legal opinion.