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Google Faces A New Foe As Epic Games Challenges App Store Practices In Legal Battle


On Monday, Google faces a new foe as Epic games challenges app store practices in legal battle.

While this might seem like déjà vu, it's essential to clarify that while Epic faced Apple in court previously, the lawsuit against Google never reached trial until now, nearly 1,180 days after Epic initially filed it.

Llamacorn And Epic's Battle Against "App Store Taxes"

Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, generates revenue by selling in-game items through its virtual currency V-Bucks.

Players often purchase V-Bucks within the Fortnite app on their mobile devices, triggering an in-app payment fee to Google or Apple.

These fees, often referred to as the "Google tax" or the "Apple tax," were contentious, and Epic was determined to challenge them.

In August 2020, Epic took action against these fees by bypassing Google and Apple's app store fees, offering users the option to purchase V-Bucks directly through their own payment processing at a discount.

Apple and Google swiftly responded by removing Fortnite from their app stores. Epic then launched two lawsuits against them.

Smartphone with Epic Games logo is seen in front of Apple log.
Smartphone with Epic Games logo is seen in front of Apple log.

Why This Trial Matters

The outcome of this trial holds significant implications for the future of Google's app store. Epic aims to challenge what it perceives as Google's monopoly on Androidapp stores and payment methods, often referred to as the "Google Tax."

If Epic wins, it could lead to a more competitive landscape for Android app stores and prevent developers from passing on the costs to consumers.

Epic contends that Google has made it incredibly challenging for developers and users to navigate around its Android app store, creating an illegal monopoly that benefits Google financially.

It also argues that Google ties its Google Play payments platform to the Google Play app store, limiting competition from other app payment mechanisms.

The Monopoly Debate

One central issue for the court to address is whether Google indeed holds a monopoly. Epic argues that Google has an illegal monopoly in "Android app distribution" and "Android in-app payment processing."

Google, on the other hand, contends that the real competition comes from Apple, which provides an alternative choice to Android users.

The trial will likely feature ample drama, with both sides presenting their arguments. Epic claims it's suing to end Google's monopoly, but it could financially benefit if it doesn't have to pay Google's fees.

Google may argue that Android users have options but hasn't justified its fees. Epic, however, wants to pay nothing.

High-profile witnesses from both Epic and Google are expected to testify in court, including CEOs Tim Sweeney (Epic) and Sundar Pichai (Google). Epic will stand alone in this lawsuit, as other plaintiffs settled with Google.

Epic has shown no interest in settling as long as the "Google tax" exists. The trial could continue through multiple appeals, but it's unclear what Google could offer to satisfy Epic, given Epic's stance against any potential settlement.

The trial is anticipated to run for approximately five weeks, beginning on November 6th, with a verdict expected in early December. It's an essential legal showdown that could have far-reaching implications for the world of mobile app stores.

Final Words

Epic Games' new antitrust battle against Google is poised to influence the future of app ecosystems.

While Epic and Google present different narratives, the outcome of this trial may have far-reaching consequences for the digital marketplace, app distribution, and how in-app transactions are handled.

As the legal drama unfolds in the courtroom, it is bound to attract the attention of both the techindustry and consumers worldwide. Stay tuned for more updates as the trial progresses.

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Daniel Barrett

Daniel Barrett

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