Google Described As An Oppressor and Cheat In Epic Fight
In the opening statements between Epic and Google, which will decide the future of Google’s app store, Epic Games attorney Gary Bornstein essentially said Google was an oppressor and a cheat that stopped at nothing to “block” any bid to compete with Android’s Google Play store, even using “bribes” when necessary.
Google began the trial by attempting to outline the objectives of its Android business, while Fortnite maker Epic instead concentrated on portraying the tech giant as a tyrant.
Epic may be the underdog, but the company did make a feasible case for Android operating as an illegal monopoly.
Epic says this is evident in that Android app installs are from Google Play, and only a small amount is in the Galaxy Store that comes preinstalled on every Samsung phone.
This is not the first time Epic has taken Google to court.
In 2020, Epic sued Google over in-app purchase fees, alleging the Android operating system’s Google Play store is an illegal monopoly. According to Google, if Epic won, their requests would damage Android’s ability to offer a secure user experience and contend with Apple’s iOS.
The current case saw Bornstein highlighting Google’s crazy high app profit margins (70% on $12 billion in revenue a year, says Epic) and other ways the tech giant is cheating other smaller players.
“Google pays actual and potential competitors not to compete. Literally gives them money and other things of value,” said Bornstein.
“It’s like Google saying, ‘Here’s $360 million’ — that’s an actual number you’ll hear about — why don’t you sit this one out and let me win?”
Epic says they never agreed not to open their own app store and that Google “was too clever” to draft contracts that explicitly pressed developers not to compete with the Play Store.
Google, on the other hand, says there is a competition made obvious when a user opens the Android app stores, and “every single Samsung phone comes with two app stores right on the homescreen”.
“You cannot separate the quality of a phone from the quality of the apps in its app store, and that means Google and Apple compete against each other,” began Google lead attorney Glenn Pomerantz.
On the defensive, Google tried to show Epic as being underhanded by pointing out how the game maker developed a top-secret strategy called “Project Liberty” to silently update Fortnite with code to sidestep app store fees, which promptly got its app booted off Apple’s and Google’s app stores, and then tries to take legal action.
Epic, however, ensured to bring up that Google employees inclusive of CEO Sundar Pichai were discovered putting sensitive chats to auto-delete to withhold them from court, a detail Epic has pounced upon.
“Epic decided to stand up because that’s what you do to a bully,” Bornstein told the jury. “All we know is whatever is in the destroyed chats, as bad as the documents are, is worse.”
An argument Google’s lawyer says was inconsequential and that Epic could be using the case to distract from the facts.
It is only the first day of trial, making it too soon to call which company did a better job on the onset, but we expect to see more high-profile witnesses called upon soon to state their cases for both sides.