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Epic Games antitrust lawsuit against Google is won

A jury sided with Epic Games over Google in an antitrust case that could change how app marketplaces like Google Play operate on Monday.

The unanimous verdict ends the companies’ three-year legal battle. Fortnite creator Epic sued Google in 2020, alleging that its app store practices violated federal and California state antitrust laws.

Epic’s flashy campaign to unite app developers against mobile software’s gatekeepers included the Google lawsuit. Epic’s war against Apple and Google centers on Fortnite, a free-to-play game available on nearly every software platform, despite App Store and Google Play drama.

Epic claims that both tech giants violate antitrust laws by forcing app users to pay through their systems and taking a large cut of in-app revenues. Apple and Google use security concerns to justify their desire to steer app users toward a central software authority.

Epic’s battle with Google changed because iOS doesn’t allow third-party apps while Android allows “sideloading” apps. Still, Google warns against installing external apps, and the process isn’t as easy as downloading from Google Play.

Epic won its case against Google Play’s less restricted ecosystem despite those facts.

“Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world,” Epic Games said. “It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal, and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition, and reduce innovation.”

Epic cited the UK’s Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill and the EU’s Digital Markets Act as potential regulations to limit Apple and Google’s software dominance.

Google’s VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Wilson White, said the company would appeal.

“We will appeal the verdict. White said Android and Google Play offer the most choice and openness among major mobile platforms. ” We will defend the Android business model and remain committed to our users, partners, and the Android ecosystem.”

This may sound familiar because Epic fought Apple. The much-publicized campaign began with a spoof of Apple’s “1984” ad and ended with a mixed ruling two years ago.

The court mostly sided with Apple, but it did order the iPhone manufacturer to permit developers to point users to alternative payment options. Both companies asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling and take the case in September, so everything is still in limbo.

Epic started directing Fortnite players to direct downloads in 2018, away from Google’s Play Store. Epic released Fortnite on Google’s app marketplace in 2020, but critics criticized the company for discouraging third-party app downloads. The popular game is no longer on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

Epic’s multi-front battle will continue as Google appeals. The unexpected court win and last week’s massive Lego Fortnite launch, which attracted over 2.4 million concurrent players, are making everything epic.

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