Epic Games Wins Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Play Store

Epic Games has won its antitrust lawsuit against Google, after the nine-member jury in the case unanimously agreed that the tech giant abused its power by operating an app store monopoly and charging developers unduly high fees.

fortnite mobile 100 million hero
The unanimous verdict came after three hours of deliberation following a four-week trial looking into Google's Play store. Among Epic's allegations were that Google illegally tied together its Play store and Play Billing payment services, leaving developers having to use both for their apps to be included in the store.

Google collects a commission ranging from 15% to 30% on transactions completed within apps, similar to how Apple takes its App Store fees.

The jury also agreed that Google's distribution agreement with developers was anticompetitive, and that Epic had been unfairly stifled by the company's behavior by forcing its own billing system on developers. The trial was brought by Epic against Google in 2020 for removing Fortnite from the Google Play Store, after Epic allowed players to bypass Google's in-app purchase system.

The reasoning in the jury case was not revealed, but in a statement on its website, ‌Epic Games‌ CEO Tim Sweeney said the verdict "proves that Google's app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation."

Sweeney added that the jury had seen "evidence that Google was willing to pay billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores by paying developers to abandon their own store efforts and direct distribution plans, and offering highly lucrative agreements with device manufacturers in exchange for excluding competing app stores."

Google said it would appeal. "We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners and the broader Android ecosystem," said Wilson White, vice-president of government affairs and public policy at Google.

The ruling could have profound implications for digital app store regulation, particularly within Apple's ‌App Store‌. Apple won a similar case against Epic in 2021. Rather than a jury made up of consumers though, that ruling was made by a single judge.

Epic has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive key claims in the Apple case, and Apple is fighting part of a ruling for Epic regarding Apple's "anti-steering" rule that bars developers of many iOS apps from directing users to methods of purchase available outside of the ‌‌App Store‌‌, circumventing Apple's revenue cut.

The Supreme Court will decide in the coming months whether it will hear either or both of Epic's and Apple's appeals, but if it does not take up either petition, the previous rulings will stand.

Popular Stories

new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
iOS 17

Apple Sheds More Light on iOS 17.5 Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

Friday May 24, 2024 2:36 am PDT by
Last week, some iPhone users reported that Apple's iOS 17.5 update had introduced a bug that caused old photos that were deleted to reappear in the Photos app. Apple quickly released an iOS 17.5.1 update to fix the issue, but for many users, its explanation of "database corruption" in the release notes was all too brief, and did little to allay concerns about the privacy of their data. Apple ...

Top Rated Comments

Abazigal Avatar
24 weeks ago

Apple is next
I have been looking at the discussion over at Theverge and Ars Technica and consensus is that it would not be easy to overturn the judge's decision favouring Apple. It seems that Google made a mistaken of opting for a jury, and their second mistake was claiming their OS was open, only to engage in secret backroom deals that made it effectively everything but.

In contrast, Apple has never been an open ecosystem, nor have they ever pretended they were, so they didn't need to do any of these shenanigans like bribe companies to not develop rival app stores for Android, or give Spotify special treatment just to stay on the play store. You can't break the law if those were the laws (however unreasonable) in the first place.

It's quite funny really. Apple set the tone and the expectations right form day one with a firm "NO". In contrast, Google tried to play the nice, magnanimous guy, only to find out that it was actually bad for business, and then went about bribing everyone left and right to prevent everything falling apart.

What do you know? Contrary to popular opinion in the early 2010s, looks like Apple made the right call all along. Closed ecosystem, differentiated experience made possible by control over hardware, software and services, and more importantly, the willingness to sacrifice market share for profits. :)
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RRC Avatar
24 weeks ago

Apple is next
Apple were first and have already won... and they'll win again if it comes to it I'm sure.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
truthsteve Avatar
24 weeks ago
Epic is a bunch of whiners. Apple and Google deserve their success. Maybe Epic should try building their own phone platform
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
24 weeks ago

Apple is next
Um lol Apple already went thru this(a lengthy case big media covered event too) in 2021 and they won their case.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
24 weeks ago
I demand Walmart stock my designer jeans on that eye level shelving they just installed and if they dare invoice me I’ll tear it up!
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scorpio vega Avatar
24 weeks ago

give Spotify special treatment just to stay on the play store
What special treatment? >Im curious

What do you know? Contrary to popular opinion in the early 2010s, looks like Apple made the right call all along. Closed ecosystem, differentiated experience made possible by control over hardware, software and services, and more importantly, the willingness to sacrifice market share for profits.
And this is why I enjoy closed/proprietary ecosytems. Because they are focused on bringing out and building a solid ecosystem and not just throwing any product out for the sake of saying they are the dominant player.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)