Epic Games Takes Google To Court Over App Store Rules. Epic Games, the mastermind behind the iconic Fortnite, finds itself entangled in a high-stakes antitrust battle with tech behemoth Google.
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Epic Games Takes Google To Court Over App Store Rules
While their tussle with Apple on a similar issue made headlines, this case against Google adds a fresh twist.
Let’s dive into the details of this legal face-off, set to shape the future of app stores and competition within the tech industry.
The Settlement With Match, The Ongoing Battle With Epic
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Epic’s case against Google, it’s essential to note that Match recently settled its antitrust lawsuit with Google.
However, the gaming giant Epic Games is undeterred, with its trial against Google commencing on November 6.
To convince a jury that Google’s practices concerning its Android app store, Google Play, and commission structure are anticompetitive.
Sideloading Apps On Android: A Key Difference
Epic’s legal battle against Google differs from its skirmish with Apple, primarily due to Android’s support for sideloading apps.
Unlike with Apple, Epic can’t argue that there’s no alternative method to load apps onto Android devices.
Nevertheless, Epic contends that Google makes sideloading a cumbersome process, and their central arguments focus on what they view as anticompetitive agreements between Google, device manufacturers, and developers.
Drawing From The Microsoft Antitrust Case
Epic Games draws inspiration from the Microsoft antitrust case.
In the past, courts found Microsoft to have a monopoly over the operating system and to be hindering users from downloading alternative browsers.
Epic’s lawsuit centers on Google’s dominant position in the distribution of Android apps and the payment processing solutions within these apps.
The Legal Framework And Epic’s Arguments
Epic’s legal strategy includes invoking Sections 1 and 2 of U.S. antitrust law, specifically the Sherman Act, along with California’s antitrust laws, including the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Law.
Their core argument revolves around Google’s alleged suppression of competition within two critical markets: the distribution of apps to Android users and the market for payment processing solutions within Android apps.
Google’s Response: User Choice Billing And Broader Services
Google, on the other hand, has its counterarguments prepared.
They highlight the User Choice Billing program, which offers a discount for third-party billing options, reducing the standard commission for companies opting for their payment processing solution.
Google contends that its commissions play a vital role in developing safety features, facilitating app discovery, and supporting developers’ needs.
The Competitive Landscape And Role Of Alternative App Stores
Google disputes Epic’s assertion that it operates without competition in the app store space.
They point out that the Play Store competes directly with Apple’s App Store and emphasize that Android accommodates rival app stores, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Store and Amazon’s Appstore.
In contrast, Epic argues that Google’s practices hinder the success of alternative app stores, with 90% of apps still being downloaded through Google Play.
Challenging Anti-Fragmentation Agreements And Developer Arrangements
Epic’s case also delves into the role of “Anti-Fragmentation Agreements” (AFAs), which they claim prevent original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from modifying Android to enable frictionless app downloads outside of Google Play.
They specifically highlight an agreement between Google and Samsung, which they argue is designed to stifle competition.
Epic also brings up agreements between Google and Android app developers, citing the “Project Hug” initiative as an example.
Android’s Sideloading And Allegations Of Concealment
Google highlights Android’s support for sideloading apps, a feature Epic takes advantage of. Google emphasizes that the process is efficient and safe, while Epic argues it’s made overly complex for end-users, with numerous steps and security warnings.
Epic further suggests that Google concealed information through off-the-record chats among executives and employees, a claim Google vehemently denies.
Google’s Stance: Money vs. Competition
Google asserts that Epic’s lawsuit primarily revolves around money, as Epic Games aims to access Google Play’s 2.5 billion users without paying required commissions.
According to Google, Android’s flexibility and choice benefit consumers and developers of all sizes.
Epic Games Takes Google To Court Solo Battle
While Epic’s lawsuit initially involved Match and several U.S. state attorneys general, Google settled with the former last month and with Match just last week.
As a result, Epic is now taking on this antitrust battle on its own.
Epic Games Takes Google To Court Over App Store Rules.
The trial, taking place in the U.S. District Court in California’s Northern District, is set to feature testimony from key figures, including Google and Android executives, CEO Sundar Pichai, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, as well as representatives from Apple, Netflix, and other Android developers.
Other Legal Engagements
It’s important to note that Google is simultaneously embroiled in another antitrust lawsuit with the Department of Justice, focusing on its alleged search monopoly.
Meanwhile, Epic Games lost its antitrust battle with Apple and is now seeking the Supreme Court’s involvement.
Final Thoughts On Epic Games Takes Google To Court
In conclusion, this legal duel between Epic Games and Google is not just about two corporate giants but also about the future of app stores, competition, and the broader tech industry.
Epic Games Takes Google To Court Over App Store Rules.
The outcome of this high-profile case could have far-reaching consequences.
One way or another, this legal battle will have an effect on end users.
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