Epic Scores Rare Win: Google Has Illegal App Store Monopoly 

Epic Scores Rare Win: Google Has Illegal App Store Monopoly 

Fortnite developer Epic Games have finally clutched a victory royale in the years-long legal battle against Google, with a jury in Epic vs. Google finding Google turned the Google Play app store and billing service into an illegal monopoly.

First reported by The Verge, the jury was unanimous in their response to all questions put before them, agreeing that Google “maintained monopoly power by engaging in anticompetitive conduct” in Android app distribution and in-app billing service markets, and that Epic was injured as a result of Google’s violation of anti-trust laws. The jury also decided that Google unlawfully tied the use of the Google Play Store to the use of Google Play Billing.

Wilson White, Google Affairs and Public Policy VP, said the company had plans to challenge the verdict. “Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. The trial made clear that we compete fiercely with Apple and its App Store, as well as app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles,” White’s statement reads. “We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem.”

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney took to X (formerly Twitter) to share the verdict, and confirmed that the court’s work on remedies in relation to the case would start in January, before calling to “free Fortnite!”

What exactly the Epic vs. Google ruling means beyond the win in Epic’s favour isn’t apparent just yet, but in a post shared to its company blog, Epic Games said the 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.” It also added that over the course of the trial, it saw evidence that “Google was willing to pay billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores” and that Google’s 30% tax imposed on developers was “simply because they have prevented any viable competitors from emerging to offer better deals.”

What exactly the win will change is at the discretion of Judge James Donato when both parties and Judge Donato meet in the second week of January to discuss remedies. Epic has previously said (in late November) that it’s asking for freedom for Epic and other developers to introduce their own stores and billing systems, as well as an anti-circumvention provision to ensure Google can’t “reintroduce the same problems through some alternative creative solution.” 

Judge Donato has already made clear that the anti-circumvention provision won’t be granted, saying “we don’t do break-the-law injunctions…if you have a problem, you can come back.” He also stated that the percentage fee Google should charge for its products was not up to him to decide and that negotiations would need to occur.

The Epic victory itself is a big win for the Fortnite developer, given previous suits against Apple have mostly been unsuccessful to the point of Apple successfully counter-suing the company previously. Epic’s history of suits and legal battles against platform holders has been a years-long process, when in 2020 it tried to get “Project Liberty” off the ground with a legion of Fornite players at its back (as well as the aforementioned “Free Fortnite” campaign). Their efforts have mostly focused on the issue of large platform fees, but it looks like this particular case has taken it a step further in finding actually illegal anti competitive behaviour.

We’ll be keeping our eyes out as January rolls around for the outcome of remedy discussions between Epic, Google, and Judge Donato – but it looks like for now, Epic can celebrate a rare W.

The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans

Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


One response to “Epic Scores Rare Win: Google Has Illegal App Store Monopoly ”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *