Fortnite developer Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against google has further exposed how the internet giant throws around massive amounts of money to secure its default app status. Google committed $8 billion to Samsung to ensure its apps remain the default on Samsung phones and other Android devices, raising significant questions about market competition and tech monopolies.
The Hill reports that Google’s constant quest to cement its dominance in the smartphone market has come with a hefty price tag: a staggering $8 billion paid to Samsung. This deal, spanning four years, was disclosed in the ongoing antitrust case involving Epic Games, developer of massively popular video game Fortnite. The Samsung deal is a clear indicator of the tech giant’s strategy to maintain its stranglehold over the fiercely competitive app market.
The details of this agreement emerged during the antitrust trial as part of the testimony of James Kolotouros, Google vice president for partnerships. The deal entails a revenue-sharing arrangement, ensuring that Samsung’s Android devices come preinstalled with Google Play. Epic Games claims this move isn’t just about brand presence; it’s a strategic effort to dominate the app marketplace.
In 2020, Epic sued Google, alleging that the company’s practices in its app marketplace were in violation of antitrust laws. The focus of this lawsuit is Google’s alleged creation of an illegal monopoly on Android apps, enabling it to earn substantial profits through commissions ranging between 15 to 30 percent on in-app purchases.
Google’s defense revolves around competition with Apple and its App Store. However, Epic’s attorneys, including Lauren Moskowitz, have criticized this argument, suggesting that Google’s actions go beyond healthy competition. The lawsuit also draws attention to the interconnectedness of big tech firms, highlighting the other ongoing antitrust case involving Google, focused on Google’s payments to Apple to maintain its search engine’s dominance on iPhones.
The case, unfolding in the Northern District of California, is expected to continue until the end of the year. It’s a critical examination of the practices of tech giants in a market where they wield considerable influence. As Epic’s attorney Gary Bornstein puts it, Google’s approach can be seen as one of “bullying and bribing” to stifle competition.