- A jury declared Google’s control over its Play Store and billing services an unlawful monopoly, addressing concerns about limited choices and high costs for consumers.
- Google unfairly restricted competition and innovation in the app market, leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.
- The verdict could change how apps are distributed on Android, potentially leading to lower costs, more choices for consumers, and increased competition. Google plans to challenge the decision.
In a major decision, a jury has declared Google’s control over its Play Store and billing services as an unlawful monopoly, siding with Epic Games in a critical legal battle. This verdict addresses long-standing concerns about the limited choices and high costs faced by consumers in the digital marketplace. We’ve gathered up the most fascinating takeaways from this trial, starting with Epic Games’ victory over Google and its importance to consumers.
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1 Jury decides Google has illegal monopoly
Unfairly restricted competition
In the landmark legal case Epic Games vs Google, a jury found that Google had established an illegal monopoly with its Google Play app store. The decision was reached after the Fortnite creator sued Google, alleging that its practices in the Android app distribution and in-app billing markets were anti-competitive. The trial took place in the US and highlighted issues like revenue-sharing deals between Google and other major players in the industry, as well as Google’s efforts to suppress competition in the app market.
At the heart of this legal confrontation was the accusation that Google, through its Play Store and associated billing services, unfairly restricted competition and innovation in the app market. This restriction, according to the lawsuit, led to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, as well as stifling the development of new and innovative apps.
If upheld through appeals, this ruling has the potential to dramatically change how third-party apps are distributed on the two major mobile operating systems.
This verdict is also particularly significant as it contrasts with a previous ruling in a similar case against Apple, where the court found no grounds for claims of monopoly. In this instance, however, the jury was convinced by evidence showing that Google’s practices were indeed anti-competitive.
2 We don’t know what Epic has won yet
Judge needs to decide
Fortnite Play Store
While Epic Games has won its lawsuit, what the company will get is not yet clear.
The final outcome of this case still hinges on the decisions of Judge James Donato, who will determine the appropriate remedies. Epic Games, while not seeking monetary damages, aims for a legal mandate that would allow app developers to implement their own app stores and billing systems on Android, challenging the current status quo.
3 This is a ‘win’ for consumers
Potential to change how apps are distributed
The jury’s decision could be seen as a win for consumers and developers, signaling a potential shift toward more open and competitive app markets. The verdict represents a major challenge to Google’s dominance in the app store sector and could have far-reaching implications for how apps are distributed and monetized on the Android platform.
It could lead to a decrease in the fees charged for app purchases and in-app transactions, translating into lower costs for users. Additionally, the ruling may encourage the development of alternative app stores, offering consumers a wider array of choices and possibly spurring further innovation in the app ecosystem.
4 Google is salty about the decision
Plans to challenge
Daniel Romero / Unsplaash
After the verdict in the Epic Games vs Google case, Epic Games celebrated the outcome, stating, “Today’s 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.”
Google, however, expressed its intent to challenge the decision.
Wilson White, Google’s VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy, stated, “We plan to challenge the verdict. Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform.” White added: “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. We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem.”
Epic Games sues Apple and Google in the UK over Fortnite row
Epic Games alleges the two companies are in violation of UK competition laws.
5 Epic Games also sued Apple, but lost
Did not constitute a monopoly
In a separate but related legal battle, Epic Games sued Apple, challenging the latter’s app store policies and accusing it of maintaining a monopoly over app distribution and in-app purchases on iOS devices. However, unlike the Google case, Epic Games largely lost this lawsuit against Apple. The court, led by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, ruled that Apple’s app store practices did not constitute a monopoly, allowing Apple to maintain its current app distribution and payment systems with only minor changes.
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