Google is facing a costly aftermath from banning Fortnite from its store and engaging in a legal battle with Epic Games. In summary, three years after Epic Games sued Google for monopolizing Google Play, Epic has emerged as the winner. The jury has sided with the renowned creator of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine graphics engine.
With unanimity, the jury determined that Google possesses monopoly power in the markets for Android app distribution and in-app billing services. Specifically, Google has exhibited anticompetitive behavior in these markets, which negatively impacted Epic Games. As a result, Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular games, was removed from Google’s official store on billions of mobile devices.
The judges also pointed out that Google has an illegal tie between its Google Play app store and its Google Play Billing payment services. This relates to forcing all developers to use Google’s payment gateway for their apps, requiring them to pay a commission to Google for every transaction made. Typically, this commission amounts to 30% of the revenues generated.
Although Google has announced its plans to appeal the decision, Epic Games sees the verdict as a victory for developers and consumers around the world. According to Epic, this case demonstrates that Google’s app store practices are illegal, and the company abuses its monopoly to charge exorbitant fees, stifle competition, and hinder innovation.
However, it’s still unclear what Epic Games has won from this lawsuit. Logically, Fortnite might return to Google’s official store. But this could also pave the way for greater freedom for developers to launch their own app stores and billing systems on Android. This poses a major challenge for Google, as it may lead to a significant loss of revenue. The industry is also seeking similar changes on Apple’s iOS platform.
Epic Games did not file a claim for monetary damages. Instead, the company wants the court to allow every app developer complete freedom to introduce their own app stores and billing systems on Android. Both Epic Games and Google will meet with the judge in the second week of January to discuss possible remedies.
Although Epic Games did not file a claim for damages, CEO Tim Sweeney suggested that the company would save hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars by avoiding Google’s fees.
This article first appeared on El Chapuzas Informático (translated to English).