Epic Games has beaten Google in court after a three-year-long legal battle against the tech giant over how it operates the Play Store.
It took a jury in San Francisco only a couple of hours to deliberate and rule that Google Play Store – the online app market for Android – is an illegal monopoly, court documents on Monday (Dec 11) show.
The verdict is a major win for the makers of Fortnite. The court agreed with Epic Games’ assertion that Google has a monopoly on Android apps via its store and also that the trillion-dollar company has stifled competition through its business practices, specifically by paying developers to ensure it keeps its grip on the market in place.
Furthermore, the jury found Google has an illegal link between its Google Play Store app store and its Google Play Billing payment services and that its distribution agreement, Project Hug deals with game developers and deals with OEMs were all anti-competitive, reports The Verge.
Epic Games hails ‘win for all’ against Google
Epic Games hailed their victory as “a win for all app developers and consumers around the world” in a forthright statement on their website.
The company 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.
“Over the course of the trial we saw 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.
“These deals were meant to cement Google’s dominance as the only app store in town – and it worked. More than 95% of apps are distributed through the Play Store on Android.”
Epic didn’t stop there. They also aimed other Silicon Valley titans like Apple for their “stranglehold” over the smartphone market and welcomed recent legislation aimed at tackling the market dominance of some of the world’s biggest companies.
Google responds to Play Store verdict
It’s not yet known exactly what Epic Games will receive in compensation. The judge is still to decide what penalty Google faces, but already the search giant has signaled it will not accept the verdict.
Wilson White, Google VP, of Government Affairs & Public Policy told The Verge: “We plan to challenge the verdict. Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform.
“The trial made clear that we compete fiercely with Apple and its App Store, as well as app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles. We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem.”
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