More than three years ago, Epic, developer of Fortnite, Epic brought Apple to court due to what they perceived to be unlawful taxes on their purchases. It all started when Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, decided to bypass Apple’s App Store payment system, which resulted in Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store. Epic Games then filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that Apple’s App Store practices were anticompetitive.
The main point of contention was Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases, and Epic argued that this was monopolistic behavior. The legal battle raised important questions about the power and practices of major tech companies in the digital marketplace. It’s like a clash of the titans, with each side fighting for its version of a fair and open digital ecosystem.
While the Epic v. Apple lawsuit was highly publicized, the fact that Epic filed a similar lawsuit against Google went under the radar since the lawsuit never got its time in court, and today, on November 6, this changes.
The main point that Epic will try to raise in court is that Google has a monopoly on App Stores and the distribution of Android apps in general. They will argue that distributing Android apps is near impossible if you don’t pay a cut of your profit to Google as there doesn’t exist an alternative app store approved by Google that has as much of a reach as Google Play.
Google charges a hefty fee, up to ten times more than PayPal or credit cards. It’s a clash between big players, with Epic wanting a better deal and Apple defending its App Store practices. Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, implies that Google shouldn’t charge any fee if developers use their own payment system, adding a twist to the battle.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, commented on X what kind of anticompetitive measures Epic is currently trying to combat.
And this is in part rings true for the most part. Getting third-party software on your Android Phone (which you’ve paid for) can be a nightmare due to several default settings. But this is the power of “default.” Something that Google has been criticized for several times in different antitrust lawsuits.
Before the trial, Epic Games accused Google of using shady tactics like “Project Hug,” “Project Agave,” and “Project Banyan.” The allegations include Google paying off game developers and phone makers to stick with its app store, possibly totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. There were even talks of Google considering buying Epic to prevent other developers from leaving its platform.
Additionally, Google is accused of deleting incriminating messages, prompting the judge to caution the jury that not all evidence is available due to auto-delete settings involving Google employees up to CEO Sundar Pichai. These issues surfaced in the ongoing US v. Google antitrust trial in Washington, DC.
And yes, Google is being accused of a similar thing on another front, now having two simultaneous big lawsuits over antitrust laws on its hands. Google is currently facing the Justice Department in a Washington court, where the company is accused of abusing its dominant position in online search and advertising to stifle competition. The case revolves around allegations that Google’s practices are detrimental to its rivals in the industry, and once again, the power of default has been mentioned, as well as Google paying off different browsers a hefty amount of money to use Google as a search engine.
In any case, no matter the arguments that Epic tries to raise, the fact stands that they haven’t exactly been on the winning side of the Apple V. Epic lawsuit, and this one is likely to follow the same suit.
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