Google's Antitrust Defeat In Epic Games Lawsuit

Google faces a legal setback as a jury sides with Epic Games in an antitrust lawsuit over app store practices.

Can big tech companies unfairly dominate app markets?

In a significant legal development, Google has lost an antitrust lawsuit to Epic Games, alleging monopolistic practices in the Android app market. The verdict, delivered by a California jury, points to Google's use of its Play Store to secure billions in profits.

Epic's Accusations And The Jury's Verdict

The lawsuit centered on whether Google hindered competitors to its Play Store and payment services on Android devices. Epic Games accused Google of abusing its market influence to impose hefty fees, leading to a $12 billion profit in 2021 from the Play Store. The jury agreed with Epic's allegations, concluding after a weeks-long trial in San Francisco.

Epic Games Confronts Google In Antitrust Trial Amidst DoJ Scrutiny
Epic Games initiates a legal trial against Google for alleged antitrust violations, as Google simultaneously defends its app store practices in a separate DoJ antitrust case.

Google's Position And Future Actions

Google's CEO Sundar Pichai defended the company's practices during the trial. Post-verdict, Wilson White, Google’s VP for Government Affairs and Public Policy, announced plans to appeal, emphasizing Android and Google Play's role in promoting choice and openness. He contrasted Google's approach with Apple’s, underlining fierce competition in the app store market.

Epic's Ongoing Battle With Tech Giants

This verdict is part of Epic's broader challenge against major tech companies over their control of the app ecosystem. Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney highlighted the necessity for regulatory measures against the dominance of companies like Google and Apple. The case draws attention to the standard 30% commission fee, which Sweeney predicts is under threat. In a related lawsuit, Epic faced defeat against Apple in 2021, with an appeals court upholding the decision. Epic now seeks a US Supreme Court review, differentiating Google's case based on its non-control of hardware using its OS.

Fortnite heroes
Fortnite, boasting 500 million registered users, generated over $26 billion in revenue to date (image: Fortnite)

Beyond this case, Google faces other legal challenges. US District Judge James Donato criticized the company for not preserving evidence in the Epic case. The Department of Justice’s antitrust division is also suing Google over alleged illegal deals to dominate search engine usage, with the trial's closing arguments set for May 2024.

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