Epic Games Vs Google Court Case Kicks Off OZ Case Pending
The jury trial between Epic Games and Google has kicked off with the decision set to determine the future for the Google and Apple stores that control the bulk of app deliveries to devices worldwide.
This court case is a battle over antitrust claims relating to Googles payments system and rules.
The big search Company is also facing a similar battle in Australia where Epic has taken legal action against Google.
The big search Company is also facing an antitrust investigation by the US Justice Department who claim that Google illegally maintains control over the search engine and advertising market.
Antitrust enforcers allege that Google, which controls nearly 90% of online queries, has broken antitrust laws by paying as much as $26 billion in 2021 to maintain its search monopoly by ensuring its search engine is the default on web browsers and mobile phones.
In the Epic Games Vs Google case which kicked off in 2020, Epic introduced a hotfix to Fortnite that directed players to buy virtual currency V-Bucks directly, avoiding the 30% cut Google takes through its handling of all in-game transactions.
Google removed Fortnite from the Google Play store, to which Epic swiftly responded with an antitrust lawsuit.
Google later countersued Epic for breach of contract.
Epic’s arguments are that Google’s requirement for developers to use the Play store’s payment system for all transactions is anti-competitive and that, while Android users can install apps without using Google’s marketplace (unlike Apple’s iOS), Google Play is so dominant that it is not financially viable or profitable to do so.
A win for Epic Games could force Google to make changes to Android, where it charges a 15% to 30% fee on digital goods and services purchased within apps.
It could allow Epic to get its store pre-installed on devices, potentially making it easier for users to bypass Google’s store to download games.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney are expected to testify later this week.
Google’s VP of government affairs and public policy claims “[Epic’s] claims are baseless. Android enables developers to distribute through multiple app stores or directly to users through the web.”
Epic has been fighting a similar battle again Apple, with the added arguments that the closed iOS ecosystem means developers are unable to distribute apps to iPhones and iPads without going directly through the App Store.
In the 2021 antitrust trial between Epic and Apple, the judge ruled in Apple’s favour on nine of out ten counts. Epic’s only victory was a ruling that Apple should cease its anti-steering policies and allow developers to provide users with links to where they may make direct purchases.
Both Epic and Apple continue to appeal against the judge’s ruling, with the matter now being put to the Supreme Court, so no changes have yet been made to iOS or its payment system.
Google has previously asked the courts not to connect its own dispute against Epic with the Apple case.
Epic Games is also taking legal action against Google in the UK.