Epic Games goes to court to challenge Google’s App Store practices

Fabian Sommer/Image Alliance/DPA/A.B

Illustration – April 28, 2021, Berlin: On the smartphone screen, you can see the logo of the Play Store application of the American company Google. Photography: Fabian Sommer/Photo Alliance/DPA/AP Images


Epic Games, maker of the popular game “Fortnite,” launched a fight against Google in federal court today in a closely watched antitrust showdown that could reshape how smartphone users get Android apps and pay for in-app content.

Epic’s lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California targets the Google Play Store, focusing on Google’s fees for in-app subscriptions and one-time transactions, along with other terms that app developers like Epic say helped Google maintain an illegal monopoly. In distributing the application.

The legal battle comes after a years-long debate over whether app store operators like Google and Apple are promoting an open and competitive app ecosystem. The companies say their app stores help generate billions in revenue for small businesses, while ensuring Android and iOS users benefit from the security oversight provided by the tech giants.

The jury may hear high-profile witnesses testify from both sides, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

The legal battle dates back to 2020, when Epic launched Project Liberty, a plan to circumvent Apple and Google’s App Store terms. This move by Epic led to a confrontation with the tech giants.

Epic has updated its Fortnite app to encourage players to pay for in-app content directly through Epic’s website – rather than through Apple and Google’s in-app payment systems. This maneuver resulted in a violation of the app store developer terms.

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The move also prompted both app stores to remove the Fortnite app from their platforms. This means that Apple users can no longer play Fortnite on iOS devices. Epic’s case involving Apple may soon be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Fortnite is still available on Android devices through A variety of non-Google channels.

Meanwhile, Sweeney The alleged one That Google “controls, monitors, and taxes transactions between users and developers” in violation of US antitrust law.

Google has argued that Epic simply wants access to the Play Store’s 2.5 billion users worldwide without having to pay to support the platform, and that a win for Epic could hurt Google’s ability to offer a competitive Android alternative to Apple’s iOS.

“The most important thing for us is to show the jury how Android has created more choice, flexibility and openness than any other platform, and that Epic has really benefited from that level of choice and flexibility,” said Wilson White, Google vice president. For public policy and government affairs. “As a result, these meritless claims they have made must fail.”

The lawsuit against Google initially included a wide range of plaintiffs, including dozens of state attorneys general and individual consumers, as well as Match Group, the online dating giant that owns apps including Tinder, Hinge, and Match. But Google successfully Narrowed down The list of opponents you will face in the trial is also here Multiple settlements Remove other plaintiffs from the case.

Epic will now face Google alone in court.

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