Epic Games wins the lawsuit against Google. Play Store is a monopoly, according to the judge’s verdict
“Today’s verdict is a victory for all app developers and consumers around the world. It demonstrates that Google’s app store practices are illegal and that they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition, and reduce the innovation.”
This is how Epic Games ‘ official statement begins after its victory in the lawsuit against Google . Three years later, the judge has determined that the Google Play Store is a monopoly. It will be necessary to wait until January to know the repercussions this will have on the Google application store.
Fortnite for Android revealed everything . The launch of Fortnite on Android was one of the most notable cases in the world of mobile video games. It first arrived exclusively for Samsung phones through the Galaxy Store, but the problems began weeks later.
Epic created its own APK installer to avoid the 30% commission that Google charges developers for launching the game on Google Play. 18 months after this move he launched the game on the Play Store . The key? Epic bypassed the Play Store rules by implementing two payment options for Fortnite V-Bucks (the game’s virtual currency): with a discount if you made the payment directly to Epic Games, without a discount if you paid Google. This led to the removal of the application by Google.
Thus, since 2020, Epic Games and Google have been immersed in a lawsuit that was not resolved until three years later.
Against Apple everything was settled faster . The same practice in the App Store meant a technical tie. The lawsuit against Apple ended with Epic Games forced to pay ” damages in an amount equivalent to 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue that Epic Games collected from users in the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020″, and with Apple forced to make it possible for developers to link outside of their own app store to charge users.
In the Google case, more dirty laundry has been revealed . During these last three years, we have had important discoveries thanks to the information provided in the trial. Some of those that have had the most weight were related to the secret agreements that Google had with some of the largest players in certain sectors.
The trial documentation proves that Google made deals with companies like Spotify so that it had preferential treatment and paid fewer commissions, to which Google responded through a spokesperson that “a small number of developers who invest more directly in Android and Play may have different service fees as part of a broader partnership that includes significant financial investments and product integrations across different form factors.” In other words, Google itself admitted that not everyone plays by the same rules.
The jury has seen it clearly . The verdict unanimously answers questions about whether Google has a monopoly position in the Android app distribution markets, in-app billing services markets, or whether there were anti-competitive agreements with other OEMs. The answer to everything is yes.
It is thus determined that Google engaged in illegal practices, that it had a monopolistic position and that the practices of both treating other OEMs preferentially and preventing developers from billing outside of Google Play are not reflected within the competition rules.
Google disagrees with the verdict . Google has announced that it intends to challenge the verdict and that both Android and the Play Store are a model that they will continue to defend.
“We plan to challenge the verdict. Android and Google Play offer more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. The test made clear that we compete fiercely with Apple and its App Store, as well as app stores on Android devices and game consoles. “We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners and the broader Android ecosystem.”
The next step will be taken starting in January, when Epic, Google and the judge must meet to determine the consequences that this ruling will have.