Epic Games, the company behind the popular video game Fortnite, has defeated Google in its antitrust case accusing the Masters of the Universe of maintaining an app store monopoly, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing scrutiny of Big Tech’s monopolistic practices.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the legal battle between Google and Epic Games, which began in 2020, has culminated in a San Francisco jury finding Google guilty of maintaining monopoly power through anticompetitive conduct. This verdict represents a major blow to Google, amidst its ongoing legal challenges regarding its search dominance and ad tech business.
Epic Games, known for its popular game Fortnite, accused Google of using its dominant position in smartphones to extract excessive profits from app developers. The jury’s unanimous verdict came after less than four hours of deliberation. Epic Games hailed the verdict as a victory for app developers and consumers worldwide.
In a blog post, Epic Games stated: “Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world. It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation.”
Wilson White, a Google vice president for government affairs and public policy, commented: “Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners and the broader Android ecosystem.”
This case is part of a larger antitrust war facing Google. In addition to this lawsuit, Google is involved in a landmark trial focusing on its search engine and faces another lawsuit targeting its advertising technology business.
The Epic Games lawsuit aimed at Google’s control over app distribution on Android devices and the fees charged on its Play Store. The game developer, which in 2020 encouraged Fortnite players to make direct payments, bypassing systems by Google and Apple, found itself removed from their app stores, leading to lawsuits against the two dominant players in app distribution.