The lawsuit is part of Epic Games’ broader campaign against the app store policies of Google and Apple, which both charge a commission of up to 30% on in-app purchases. Epic Games tried to bypass these fees by launching its own payment system within Fortnite, which led to the game being removed from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in 2020. Epic Games then sued both companies, alleging that they violated antitrust laws by abusing their dominant positions in the app market.
Google denies the allegations and defends its practices
Google has denied the allegations made by Epic Games and defended its practices as beneficial for consumers and developers. Google claims that it does not have a monopoly over Android apps, as users can download apps from other sources, such as the Samsung Galaxy Store, the Amazon Appstore, or directly from the developers’ websites. Google also argues that its commission fees are reasonable and comparable to those charged by other app stores, and that they help support the development and security of the Android platform.
Google’s lawyer, Glenn Pomerantz, said in his opening statement that Epic Games simply wants to access the Google Play Store’s 2.5 billion users worldwide without having to pay to support the platform. He also said that a victory for Epic Games could harm Google’s ability to offer a competitive Android alternative to Apple’s iOS.
The trial is expected to last for several weeks and have high stakes
The trial, which began on Monday, is expected to last for several weeks and have high stakes for both parties. The jury will have to decide whether Google has a monopoly over Android apps, and whether it has engaged in anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers and developers. If Epic Games wins, it could force Google to change its app store policies and pay damages. It could also set a precedent for other app developers who are unhappy with Google’s fees and terms.
The trial follows a similar one that Epic Games had against Apple earlier this year, which ended with a mixed verdict. The judge ruled that Apple was not a monopolist, but that it had to allow app developers to offer alternative payment methods within their apps. Both Epic Games and Apple have appealed the decision, and the case is pending before the Supreme Court.
The trial also comes amid growing scrutiny and regulation of the tech giants by lawmakers and regulators around the world, who are concerned about their market power and impact on competition, privacy, and innovation.