Epic Games wins antitrust case against Google over Android apps

Oh, how the turns have tabled.

Lady Justice weighing in on Google vs. Epic Games - background by - Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash.
Background by: Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash.

Google has been found guilty of antitrust law violations concerning its Play Store mobile app. The high-profile trial was initiated back in 2020 by Epic Games who sued both Google and Apple. It accused the two of abusing control of their respective online stores, directly stifling competition and reducing innovation.

Epic has also accused Google of taking advantage of app developers by charging up to 30% of its in-app revenue. Plus, it was said that the Alphabet company is known to take harsh action against any competitors who pose a threat to its Play Store monopoly.

It all started back in August 2020, when both companies removed Fortnite from the App and Google Play stores. The two tech giants did not like that Epic Games introduced a new in-game payment that sneakily circumvented their 30% fee. However, some stipulate that Epic expected this outcome. In that very same month, Epic issued lawsuits against the two accused.

The verdict

As reported by Reuters, Epic won on all counts against Google. The San Francisco jury concluded that Google maintained an illegal monopoly in the Android app distribution market, including in-app transactions and services. Furthermore, the jury also agreed that Google’s conduct has injured Epic and violated antitrust laws.

Epic CEO, Tim Sweeney, welcomed the verdict with the following statement on X: “Victory over Google! After 4 weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts. The Court’s work on remedies will start in January. Thanks for everyone’s support and faith! Free Fortnite!”

However, all is not sunshine and rainbows. Google plans to challenge the verdict in the future.  “We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners and the broader Android ecosystem,” Wilson White, vice-president of government affairs and public policy at Google, tells Reuters.

As for Apple, Epic has asked the U.S Supreme Court to revive key claims in the Apple case. In the same breath, Apple has appealed these claims, and is also currently fighting another ruling for Epic regarding Apple’s “anti-steering” policy. This policy bars developers from directing users to alternative methods of purchase available outside of the App Store, which as stated before, circumvents Apple’s revenue share.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision regarding this matter within the coming months, though it is highly unlikely that the original verdict for Apple will be overturned. Google on the other hand, has petitioned the UK’s CMA against Microsoft’s alleged antitrust practice’s. Alas, the battle of the billionaires continues.