Monday, 27 May 2019 07:50

Unlockd withdraws case against Google, told to pay costs

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Unlockd withdraws case against Google, told to pay costs Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

An Australian mobile rewards platform has withdrawn a case it filed against Google for alleged anti-competitive conduct due to lack of funds to pursue the action, and been told that it would have to pay the search giant £200,000 (A$367,208) as costs.

The company, which was backed by Lachlan Murdoch, had a business model built around consumers agreeing to view content on their mobile screens when they unlock their phones. In exchange, users were rewarded in different ways, such as getting discounts on their monthly mobile bills.

But Unlockd was forced to put off a planned IPO in April 2018 when Google threatened to remove its apps from the Play Store, with the alleged reason being that Unlockd did not conform to Google's policies.

Unlockd then sued Google and obtained court injunctions from the British High Court and the Australian Federal Court to prevent the removal of its apps from the Play Store and the disabling of AdMob-generated content.

The case was shifted to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, but that did not help Unlockd's case.

Unlockd went into administration in June last year and requested an adjournment of the hearing of its case while it sought funds to keep the action going.

But that failed, and the case was withdrawn. In a ruling dated 21 May, CAT chairman Justice Birss ordered that Unlockd's claim should be withdrawn.

He also ordered that "the claimants pay the defendants their costs of these proceedings in the High Court and in the Tribunal. Those costs are summarily assessed in the sum of £200,000. They must be paid within 21 days".

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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