Google Loses Antitrust Lawsuit Against Epic Games Over Play Store

A federal jury in California ruled against Alphabet Inc.’s Google in an antitrust lawsuit filed by Fortnite video game maker Epic Games, regarding its Android App Store, reports said.

As per the unanimous verdict, Google’s Android app store has violated antitrust laws and was illegally protected from competition in the Android app market, to secure billions of dollars in profits from its Play Store.

In the lawsuit, Epic is not seeking any monetary damages from Google, but a change in its app store policies. Epic is demanding an alternative billing mechanism on the Play Store avoiding Google’s fees.

Following the verdict, Epic in a blog post stated that the ruling underlined the need for legislation and regulation to address Google and Apple’s hold on the smartphone app ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Google reportedly said it plans to challenge the verdict.

Wilson White, Google’s vice president of Government Affairs & Public Policy, said, “Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. 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.”

The decision came on Monday night following nearly three hours of deliberation culminating a four-week trial in San Francisco regarding the payment system of Google’s Play store.

Millions of people around the world download and install apps from the Play store that work on smartphones powered by Google’s Android software.

Epic had sued Google three years ago, alleging that the tech major monopolized the Android app distribution market by entering in to side deals with rivals, and abused its power to charge excessive fees from the app. The tech major reported to have generated operating profit of $12 billion on its Play Store in 2021.

Meanwhile, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, while testifying at the trial last month, had defended Google’s actions. Google noted that its partnerships help phones that run on the Android operating system to better compete against others like Apple’s iPhone.

Earlier in 2021, Epic had lost a related case against Apple in a California court. The ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, and the company is now seeking a US Supreme Court review.

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