Google's monopoly case is lost to Fortnite's developer

A jury in the United States has ruled in favour of the developer of the popular video game Fortnite, Fortnite, against Google, finding the search behemoth to have engaged in an unauthorised monopoly.

Google was accused in a lawsuit filed by Epic Games in 2020 of unlawfully dominating the app store market over competitors.

Hundreds of millions of individuals install applications for handsets running Google's Android operating system through the store. Google has declared its intention to contest the result.

He further stated, "The trial demonstrated that we engage in intense competition with Apple and its App Store, in addition to the app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles." "Our steadfast dedication to the Android business model and our consumers, partners, and the wider Android ecosystem will not waver."

On Monday, the attorneys for the two corporations presented their concluding arguments in the trial that had endured for over a month. The jury unanimously found in favour of Epic on all counts, as stated in a court filing.

The case also challenged Google's practice of tying its Play Store and billing service, which requires developers to utilise both in order to have their applications listed in the store, as well as the 30% transaction fees that the tech giant imposes on Android app developers.

As a result, the ruling may grant developers greater control over the distribution and monetization of their applications.

Google asserts that its commissions are industry-competitive and that it offers additional benefits such as reach, transaction security, and malware protection.

Google, on the other hand, could be compelled to permit additional app stores on Android-powered devices and forfeit revenue from in-app purchases if the ruling stands.

The Google Play Store is a major global app marketplace that operates in direct competition with the Apple App Store.

Android is the operating system that powers approximately 75% of smartphones worldwide. Furthermore, Epic Games reports that the Play Store distributes over 90% of Android applications.

While Google's search business generates greater profitability, the store does not. However, the platform grants Google access to a potentially vast number of billions of mobile phones and tablets. Epic claimed in the lawsuit that Google's "web of clandestine, anticompetitive agreements" "suppresses innovation and choice."

Epic Games issued a statement following the verdict, stating, "Throughout the trial, it became apparent that Google was prepared to spend billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores by paying developers to abandon their own store efforts and direct distribution plans, and by offering extremely lucrative agreements with device manufacturers in exchange for excluding competing app stores."

Google filed a countersuit against Epic for damages, alleging that the latter had breached the developer agreement of the company.

The tech behemoth has been the subject of several antitrust cases, with Match settling comparable allegations against it prior to the commencement of the Epic trial. In 2021, a US judge mainly ruled in favour of Apple in a comparable antitrust case that Epic filed against Apple in 2020.

Epic Games issued the following statement: "The evidence presented in this case demonstrates the imperative need for legislation and regulations that address Apple and Google's strangleholds over smartphones."