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Epic Games wins antitrust lawsuit against Google

TL;DR

  • Epic Games has won the protracted antitrust legal battle against Google after a jury verdict.
  • Legal triumph and the ongoing industry turmoil.

In a significant development on Monday, a jury reached a unanimous verdict favoring Epic Games over Google in a pivotal antitrust case that carries potential implications for the operation of app marketplaces, notably Google Play. This outcome concludes a protracted three-year legal feud between the two tech entities.

Epic Games wins legal battle against Google

Epic Games, renowned as the creator of the widely popular online multiplayer game Fortnite, initiated the lawsuit against Google in 2020. The crux of Epic’s argument was that Google’s app store practices breached federal and California state antitrust laws. Epic Games has been actively mobilizing app developers, both large and small, in a high-profile effort against the established gatekeepers of mobile software, namely Apple and Google.

The focal point of Epic’s battle revolves around its flagship game, Fortnite, which is free-to-play and accessible across various platforms, despite ongoing controversies with the App Store and Google Play. The core contention put forth by Epic is that both Apple and Google run afoul of antitrust laws by compelling app users to conduct payments through their proprietary systems, while concurrently levying substantial cuts from in-app revenues. In their defense, Apple and Google cite security concerns to justify their push for directing app users toward a centralized software authority.

Although Apple and Google differ in their approach to third-party apps—iOS prohibits them, while Android allows “sideloading” of apps—the distinction shifted the dynamics of Epic’s battle against Google. Despite the seemingly less restrictive ecosystem of Google Play, Epic emerged victorious in its case against the tech giant. Epic Games celebrated the verdict as a triumph for app developers and consumers globally.

Legal triumph and the ongoing industry turmoil

They contend that Google’s app store practices are deemed illegal, accusing the company of abusing its monopoly position to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition, and impede innovation. Epic also expressed support for impending regulations that could impose additional restrictions on the dominant software practices of Apple and Google. Notably, they referenced the UK’s Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill and the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

In response to the jury’s decision, Google’s VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy, Wilson White, affirmed the company’s intention to appeal. White asserted that Android and Google Play offer more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. He emphasized Google’s commitment to defending the Android business model and supporting users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem. This legal saga echoes a similar battle Epic waged against Apple, marked by a well-publicized campaign featuring a parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” advertisement.

The conclusion of that legal battle two years ago mostly favored Apple, although the court-mandated Apple to open its software market by permitting developers to guide customers to alternative payment options. Both Apple and Epic have sought the Supreme Court’s reconsideration of the ruling, keeping the outcome uncertain. Epic Games had already taken steps in 2018 to divert Fortnite players to direct downloads, steering them away from Google’s Play Store.

In 2020, Epic released Fortnite through Google’s official app marketplace but criticized the company for discouraging users from downloading third-party apps. Presently, Fortnite is not available on Google Play, and it cannot be installed on iOS devices through Apple’s App Store. While Google is expected to appeal soon, Epic Games finds itself in a favorable position with an unexpected win in court and the recent successful launch of Lego Fortnite, drawing more than 2.4 million concurrent players.

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Owotunse Adebayo

Adebayo loves to keep tab of exciting projects in the blockchain space. He is a seasoned writer who has written tons of articles about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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