Epic Games Wins in Legal Battle: Jury Declares Play Store an ‘illegal Monopoly’ – In a major setback for Google’s parent company Alphabet, Epic Games has secured a notable win in a prominent antitrust trial, contesting the alleged illicit monopoly of Google’s Play app store. The potential consequences of this ruling, if upheld, could extend widely across the entire app store landscape.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, praised the recent ruling on social media platform X, highlighting his concerns about the “monopoly held by Google Play.” The final arguments were presented by lawyers from both companies on Monday morning, and the federal judge handed the case to the jury less than four hours later, emphasizing the necessity of a unanimous decision. Epic’s claims included the assertion that Google unlawfully links its Play store and billing service, compelling developers to utilize both for app inclusion.
Epic Games Wins in Legal Battle: Jury Declares Play Store an ‘Illegal Monopoly’
Jurors delivered a unanimous decision in favor of Epic Games on all counts after a trial lasting over a month. Epic accused Google of stifling competition and imposing steep fees of up to 30% on app developers. The court, set to determine remedies in January, could potentially reshape how apps are distributed and monetized.
Google, one of the world’s largest app store operators alongside Apple, expressed its intention to appeal the decision. Wilson White, Google’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, emphasized the commitment to defending the Android business model despite the setback.
Epic’s Allegations against Google
Epic’s allegations included claims that Google unlawfully tied its Play store and billing services, compelling developers to use both for app inclusion. While the Play Store constitutes a smaller portion of Google’s revenue, it serves as a crucial gateway to billions of mobile devices.
The verdict may force Google to allow additional app stores on Android devices, potentially leading to a loss of revenue from in-app purchases. Epic’s statement on its website asserted that the ruling proves Google’s app store practices are illegal and harmful to competition and innovation.
During the trial, Epic accused Google of systematically blocking alternative app stores and alleged that Google had a system for deleting texts and internal messages to hide anti-competitive behavior. Google denied wrongdoing, emphasizing its intense competition with Apple’s App Store.
Epic Games, not unfamiliar with antitrust battles, previously lodged a similar case against Apple in 2020. However, a U.S. judge largely ruled in favor of Apple in September 2021. Epic has sought Supreme Court intervention to revive key claims against Apple, with legal battles ongoing and complex in the evolving landscape of app store regulations.