Industry big names appear to be constantly embroiled in legal battles these days and the Epic v. Google trial’s latest battle should keep you guessing about the results again. If it feels like this happened already, it could be because Epic went to court over Apple’s App Store monopoly and had the court rule largely in the iPhone mogul’s favor. It could be because Google is already preoccupied with another antitrust trial, defending itself against the U.S. government’s stance on its industry monopoly. It has evidently been a busy year for the Google legal team. The Play Store monopoly lawsuit news comes as no surprise as Epic first went head-to-head against the “Google Tax” in 2020, but it has only now brought matters to court.
Epic V Google Trial Latest Update
Epic, the maker of the battle royale experience that is Fortnite, has stepped up to legally hold Google Inc. accountable for its Play Store payment policies and what many call the “Google Tax.” This refers to the fact that in-app purchases made by players are redirected to make a payment fee to Google (and Apple and its App Store). Epic believes that this unfairly redirects resources into Google’s pockets and also prioritizes the Google payment platform over PayPal, credit cards, and any other purchase mechanism. The Epic Google antitrust trial Washington Post report stated that Google made the shift from taking a 30 percent cut of app purchases on Google Play to 15 percent for the first $1 million collected in annual revenue for an app developer, in 2021. Different, but still unsatisfactory for Epic Games.
According to the Fortnite antitrust case updates, the trial began this Monday, 6 November. Unlike the Apple v Epic trial, which based the results on a call made by a judge, the Play Store antitrust case details indicate that a jury will need to be won over by either party. Both companies will be allowed to call witnesses to the stand to support their cause, and The Verge has some ideas on who could figure onto the list. An article by the popular news platform reported that both CEOs, Epic’s Tim Sweeney and Google’s Sundar Pichai would attend. To support Google’s side of the Play Store monopoly lawsuit, representatives from “Apple, Netflix, Motorola, and AT&T” could join the proceedings.
Play Store Monopoly Lawsuit News: Who Else Is Standing Up against Google?
Not too many people, apparently. The Epic v Google trial’s latest updates made the lawsuit out to be a developer vs. Google fight but for now, it appears that Epic is the only one pursuing legal action. Match Group, known for its successful dating platforms like Tinder, Hinge, and OKCupid, also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, but quietly amidst all the Fortnite antitrust case updates, settled with the company. As per reports, the Match Group will now join companies like Spotify in using the “user choice billing” program provided by Google, which will allow users to pay for transactions through a platform of their choice. Inevitably, Google will still receive a commission however allowing for a 4 percent discount.
In 2022, the Play Store monopoly lawsuit news centered around app developers in the U.S. who felt the current revenue sharing by Google Play was unfair to their businesses. Google settled there as well, establishing a $90 million fund to support developers in the U.S. who had earned equal to less than $2 million in annual revenue from Google Play for each year between 2016-21. There is no evidence to suggest that we might see similar results in the Fortnite vs Google legal battle as updates continue to pour in.
Fortnite Antitrust Case Updates: What’s Next?
Generously forthcoming with the Fortnite antitrust case updates, the company has openly stated its lack of interest in settling and dismissed any considerations of money being enough to bring things to a close. In a 13-page letter to the state attorney general, the company laid out the three main pillars of their fight against “Google’s anticompetitive conduct”, emphasizing the opening of the Android app distribution market, opening Android in-app payment solution market, and preventing any possible circumvention of the other two remedies.
Epic isn’t privy to the secret settlement terms Google is offering the States, but I’m worried Google may be dealing in bad faith: offering to end their monopoly payment tie, then circumventing the settlement and re-imposing the tie with new taxes on third-party payments. https://t.co/myC5aNGQlP
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 25, 2023
In the opening statement on Monday, Gary Bornstein, Epic’s attorney, stated that the accused company has frequently used a “bribe and block” strategy to discourage competition and opposition, according to an Epic-Google antitrust trial Washington Post report. Google attorney Glenn Pomerantz spoke out against Epic, “They want to take all the benefits of Android and all the benefits of the Play Store and not pay for them.”
Rounding up the Epic v Google trial latest updates, the trial will reportedly draw to a close early in December so we have a little over a month to see how this case unfolds. With the other Play Store antitrust case details already being piled up against Google, it is quite possible for the jury to have a negative predisposition towards Google’s policies. However, considering how the Apple case played out and the attempt by Epic to make the most of the Google Play Store without having to pay for it, the jury might dismiss the case here as well. We have our eyes glued to the Fortnite vs Google legal battle updates and we’re sure the results of the lawsuit will be noteworthy, whichever way they lean.