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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, has emerged victorious in its highly publicized antitrust lawsuit against Google’s Alphabet. The trial accused Google’s Play store of functioning as an unlawful monopoly. If the verdict stands following Google’s appeal, it can potentially disrupt the whole app store ecosystem.
The verdict signifies a remarkable setback for Google, which, in conjunction with Apple, manages one of the largest app marketplaces globally. If the verdict is upheld, it may potentially grant developers greater influence over the distribution and monetization of their applications.
Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic, expressed his support for the verdict regarding the social networking platform X, specifically criticizing the monopoly held by Google Play.
The attorneys for both firms presented their concluding statements last week, and shortly after that, the federal court entrusted the matter to the jury, emphasizing that a unanimous judgment is required.
Let’s look into this legal battle, and how it could affect the gaming and esports landscapes.
Epic has accused Google of engaging in unlawful practices by forcibly linking its billing service and Play Store, mandating developers to utilize both to have their products included in the store.
Although the Play Store contributes a relatively lesser portion of Google’s overall earnings than its highly lucrative search engine, it holds significant symbolic value as the primary regulator for billions of mobile phones and tablets.
Google could be obligated to let more app shops on Android-based smartphones and forfeit money from its share of in-app transactions.
One of the more outrageous claims was that Google has a mechanism to erase text messages and internal communications to hide its anti-competitive actions. During the trial, Epic’s counsel informed the jurors that they may reasonably infer that the deleted messages contained relevant information that would have been detrimental to Google’s position.
Google has refuted any misconduct allegations, asserting that it engages in fierce competition with Apple’s App Store regarding quality, pricing, and security.
Not the First Time
Prior to the commencement of the trial, Google settled the claims brought forth by Match, the developer of a dating application. The technology behemoth also resolved associated antitrust allegations brought up by U.S. states and customers with undisclosed terms.
In 2020, Epic filed a similar antitrust lawsuit against Apple, but in 2021, a U.S. judge predominantly sided with Apple.
Epic has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate crucial allegations in the ongoing legal dispute against Apple. Apple is contesting a portion of a court decision that mandates modifications to the App Store regulations.
An attorney for Epic stated on Monday that Epic intentionally breached the regulations of the Play Store by bypassing its payment processes, enabling users to make in-app purchases directly through Epic. Consequently, Google prohibited the use of “Fortnite,” and Epic retaliated by initiating legal action.