Recent developments in the industry are significant as Epic Games wins their long-standing legal battle with Google as the jury declares the Google Play Store an ‘illegal monopoly’, which comes across as an expose of Google’s tight grip on app distribution.
Jury finds Google engaged in anticompetitive actions in app markets
The Jury unanimously agreed that Google holds a monopoly in the Android app distribution and in-app billing markets. They also found that Google engaged in anticompetitive actions in these markets. The jury determined that Epic Games suffered harm due to Google’s behavior. Additionally, the jury concluded that there’s an illegal connection between Google’s Play app store and its Play Billing payment services.
There was also a mention of Google’s Project Hug, which was ruled anticompetitive. This is a case where Google reportedly paid game developers hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives discreetly to retain their games on the Play Store, as per a complaint raised by Epic Games in 2021 during its antitrust suit against Google.
This controversy sparked when Epic Games initiated its lawsuit against Google in 2020 after Google removed Fortnite from the Play Store. Epic Games had a similar legal problem with Apple in 2021 which was following the dispute with Google. In both cases, Fortnite was removed from both the app stores because Epic Games’ launched its proprietary system.
This case unveiled a lot of new and hidden details between the two giants, as we also got to know Google was looking wanted to acquire Epic Games in 2018 while being open to collaborating with shareholder Tencent to finalize a buyout, while it was revealed that OnePlus and Samsung faced restrictions from Google on including Fortnite on their devices.
Epic welcomes jury verdict, states ‘win for all developers’
Epic has welcomed the decision of the jury, and has called this as a ‘win for all developers’. They extended their gratitude to the Court for addressing this significant case and then guiding the next steps toward remedies that can rectify decades of Google’s anticompetitive conduct.
Their official statement read: “Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world. It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition, and reduce innovation.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney also expressed his excitement over the verdict on X (formerly Twitter). He expressed his gratitude for the widespread support and faith shown to pic during the trial.
What are your thoughts as Epic Games wins its three-year-long legal battle against Google? Let us know in the comments below!