Skip to main content
Tags: epic games | google | alphabet | play app store | antitrust

Google Loses Antitrust Suit to Epic Games

Google Loses Antitrust Suit to Epic Games
(Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 12 December 2023 06:01 AM EST

"Fortnite" maker Epic Games has prevailed in its high-profile antitrust trial over Alphabet's Google, which alleged the Play app store operated as an illegal monopoly, in a ruling that if it holds could upend the entire app store economy.

Jurors found for Epic on all counts, a court filing showed, after more than a month of trial in Epic's lawsuit, which accused Google of taking action to quash competitors and charge unduly high fees of up to 30% to app developers. The court in January will begin work on what remedies to implement.

The ruling marks a stunning defeat for Google, which alongside Apple operates one of the world's largest app stores. If the ruling holds, it has the potential to give developers more sway over how their apps are distributed and how they profit off them.

Google said it would appeal. "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, said in an emailed statement.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney on Monday cheered the ruling on social media site X, calling out "the Google Play monopoly."

Lawyers for the two companies made their final arguments on Monday morning and the federal judge handed the case to the jury less than four hours earlier, with instructions that a decision must be unanimous.

Among Epic's allegations were that Google illegally ties together its Play store and billing service, meaning developers were required to use both to have their apps included in the store.

While the Play store represents a much smaller chunk of Google's revenue compared to its massively profitable search business, it is symbolically important as the central gatekeeper to billions of mobile phones and tablets.

Google may be compelled to allow for more app stores on Android-powered devices and lose revenue from the cut it takes out of in-app purchases.

"(Today's verdict) proves that Google's app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation," Epic said in a statement on its website.

"The trial has shone a very bright light on what Google has done to impair the competition," a lawyer for Epic, Gary Bornstein, told jurors earlier in the day, adding Google "systematically blocks" alternative app stores on the company's Play store.

Among the more sensational allegations were that Google had a system for deleting texts and internal messages for the purpose of concealing its anticompetitive behavior. An attorney for Epic instructed jurors on Monday that they could assume the content of the deleted messages was pertinent to the case and "would have been unfavorable to Google."

Google has denied wrongdoing, arguing that it competes "intensely on price, quality, and security" against Apple's App Store.

A lawyer for Google, Jonathan Kravis, told jurors that "Google does not want to lose 60 million Android users to Apple every year." Google lowered its fee structure to compete with Apple, Kravis said.

"This is not the behavior of a monopolist," he said.

Google settled related claims from dating app maker Match before the trial started. The tech giant also settled related antitrust claims by U.S. states and consumers under terms that have not been made public.

Epic lodged a similar antitrust case against Apple in 2020, but a U.S. judge largely ruled in favor of Apple in September 2021.

Epic has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive key claims in the Apple case, and Apple is fighting part of a ruling for Epic that would require changes to App Store rules.

Epic purposefully violated Play store rules by skirting its billing systems allowing for customers to make in-app purchases directly with Epic, an attorney for the gamemaker said on Monday. As a result, Google banned "Fortnite" and Epic filed its suit in response.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


StreetTalk
"Fortnite" maker Epic Games has prevailed in its high-profile antitrust trial over Alphabet's Google, which alleged the Play app store operated as an illegal monopoly, in a ruling that if it holds could upend the entire app store economy.
epic games, google, alphabet, play app store, antitrust
647
2023-01-12
Tuesday, 12 December 2023 06:01 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
TOP

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved