For a long time, Epic Games, the creator of the popular battle-royale video game Fortnite, and Google have been in a high-profile lawsuit where the former accused the latter of practicing control over the distribution services and unfairly exploiting its position. During the trial, several lesser-known facts, such as Google’s special deal with Spotify, came to light. However, on Monday, a jury finally decided in favor of Epic Games over Google.
California’s Court Ends Epic Games Vs. Google’s Lawsuit
The two companies have appeared before the court for the last three years. Presenting its case, Epic mentioned how Google violates the antitrust laws by forcing developers to accept payments through their systems, which take a significant commission (15 percent from customer payouts and 30 percent for in-app purchases), resulting in a lower effective selling cost. This doesn’t favor all developers; only those catering to a large audience can benefit from the payment system.
Jury Decided In Favor Of Epic Games
However, on December 11, 2023, a jury ruled in favor of the Fortnite creator, concluding that Google “had violated antitrust laws in two markets, the Android Play Store and the Android’s in-app billing system,” as mentioned in a report by the New York Times. The jury also found that Google deliberately maintained a monopoly by imposing unreasonable restraints on other app stores’ ability to compete.
Google Has Been Found Guilty Of Willing Maintaining A Monopoly
Google’s agreements with Android phone manufacturers like Samsung entailed pre-installing its apps and services, like the Google Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, Google Photos, etc. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney posted earlier today on X, saying, “The California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts.” He adds, “The court’s work on remedies will start in January.”
Epic Games Celebrates The Win “For All App Developers”
In an official blog post, Epic mentions how the verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers worldwide. “Over the course of the trial we saw evidence that Google was willing to pay billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores” by paying developers to leave their store efforts or direct distribution plans. On the other hand, Google is planning to appeal the verdict and “defend the Android business model.”