A sizeable group of US attorney generals filed a lawsuit alleging Google used anticompetitive practices in its Play Store to reduce access to alternative apps and payment options, resulting in harm to small businesses and users.

In a filing to a US district court, the 37 plaintiffs argued against Google’s policy of charging a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases and accused the tech giant of buying-off competitors to maintain its dominance.

The attorney generals claimed Google had taken an “extraordinary step of attempting to buy off Samsung to limit competition from the Samsung Galaxy app store”, by offering incentives including allowing the device maker’s users to access back-end services of the Google Play Store under Galaxy Store branding.

Google wrote in a blog the complaint was “meritless” as it ignored Android and Google Play’s “openness and choice” which other platforms didn’t provide.

The company explained device makers and mobile operator can “preload” competing app stores alongside Google Play, and most Android devices came with two or more digital marketplaces.

Google decided to reduce its fees for some developers in March after game developer Epic Games challenged its practices by introducing a direct payment option for its Fortnite title.

The company is also under fire in the US for alleged misconduct in the search and advertising sectors.