Google Loses Antitrust Suit

( – Epic Games, the developer of the widely popular game Fortnite, has secured a legal victory against Google as a US jury ruled that Google operated an illegal monopoly. The lawsuit began in 2020 when Epic Games accused Google of illegally making its app store dominant the market to the detriment of competitors. The app store, utilized by hundreds of millions on smartphones running Google’s Android software, was at the center of the legal dispute.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, celebrated the outcome, terming it a “Victory over Google.” The California jury unanimously sided with Epic Games on all counts, concluding a trial that spanned over a month. Sweeney mentioned that discussions on compensation would commence in January.

Despite the legal setback, Google is resolute in defending its business model, asserting that Android and Google Play offer more choice and openness compared to other major mobile platforms. Wilson White, Google’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, emphasized the fierce competition with Apple and other app stores. Google plans to maintain its commitment to users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem.

The case also contested Google’s imposition of transaction fees, which can be as high as 30%, on Android app developers and the integration of its Play Store with its billing service. If the ruling stands, developers may gain more control over app distribution and revenue generation.

The Google Play Store, a major player in the app market, directly competes with Apple’s App Store. Android, powering around 70% of global smartphones, distributes over 95% of its apps through the Play Store. Epic Games argued that Google’s practices stifle innovation and choice through anti-competitive agreements.

The lawsuit revealed evidence of Google allegedly paying billions to suppress alternative app stores and exclude competing platforms. Google, in response, had countersued Epic for damages, claiming a violation of the developer agreement. This legal victory for Epic Games comes after Google settled similar anti-trust claims with dating app Match before the trial.

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