Apple and Google Pulled in Court Again
Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against the Search Giant Google over the alleged antitrust violations. It happens after dropping Fortnite from both Google Play Store and Apple Store, a similar suit has been filed against Apple.
Google’s payment restrictions on the Play Store constitute a monopoly has been challenged by Epic because this is clear violation of both the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act. These two acts stand for Restraints in Trade and Price Discrimination respectively.
Epic’s Fortnite was removed from the Google Play Store yesterday.
What is in the Complaints?
Epic complaint against opened with an outline of the company’s iconic 1984 ad. While Epic’s complaint against Google focuses thereon company’s now-infamous “Don’t Be Evil” mantra. But if we talk now twenty-two years later, Google has degraded its motto to just about an afterthought. The complaint alleges that it is using its size to try to evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users during a slew of markets it’s grown to monopolize.
Outside of the colorful opening, the 2 primary charges are just like Epic’s suit against Apple: monopoly control over the distribution of software to phones, and monopoly control over payment systems within that software. In Google’s case, Epic is specifically concerned about the Google Play Store’s powerful role as a distributor of Android apps, and therefore the Play Store’s requirement that hosted apps use Play Store Billing for any in-app purchases.
Is it easy win for Epic?
That case is harder to level against Google, which controls Android software less strictly than Apple does for iOS. Android has long allowed for the installation of third-party app stores, including Epic’s own Epic Games App. Apps also can be sideloaded through direct links, without the involvement of an app store.
For years, Fortnite for Android was primarily available through this type of side loading. The app finally arrived on the Google Play Store in April, overcoming longstanding concerns over the Play Store policy of taking 30 percent of all in-app purchases. Nearing 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store through direct links they’ve come to a basic realization. That the corporate said at the time, “Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at an obstacle.”
Google: King of Android Apps Distribution
Thursday’s lawsuit makes an identical case, arguing that Google has established the Play Store because of the only viable distribution method for Android apps. “Notwithstanding its promises to form Android devices hospitable competition, Google has erected contractual and technological barriers that foreclose competing ways of distributing apps to Android users, ensuring that the Google Play Store accounts for nearly all the downloads of apps from app stores on Android devices.”
Reached for comment, Google emphasized that Fortnite had been far away from the Play Store for violating clear and pre-established rules. “For game developers who prefer to use the Play Store, we’ve consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the shop safe for users,” a representative said. “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we will not make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the chance to continue our discussions with Epic and convey Fortnite back to Google Play.”