Victory for Epic Games against Google, which is accused of illegal monopoly – Le Journal de Montréal

More than three years after beginning its rebellion against Apple and Google, Epic Games scored a major victory against Google on Monday, thanks to a California jury that was convinced that the tech giant was abusing its monopoly in the mobile application market to the detriment of developers.

“Victory against Google! », Started on X (ex-Twitter) Tim Sweeney. The head of the publisher of the gaming phenomenon Fortnite began a war in the summer of 2020 against Google and Apple, which dominate the global mobile economy.

“The court’s work on retaliation will begin in January. Thank you all for your support! Free Fortnite! “, he added.

After a four-week hearing, the jury actually decided in favor of Epic Games on all points: in their opinion, Google has a monopoly on the market for the distribution of applications on Android (Google’s mobile operating system) and also payment services in applications.

They believe that Google has acted anticompetitively in these markets, that Epic has suffered harm as a result of this conduct, and that the link between the Google Play Store application store and its payment service (Google Play Billing) is illegal.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for all app developers and consumers around the world,” Epic Games said in a statement released immediately.

Google “abuses its monopoly to extort exorbitant fees, stifle competition and restrict innovation,” the company further claimed.

Call from Google

“We intend to appeal the ruling,” Google Vice President Wilson White responded in a statement to the press.

“Android and Google Play offer more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. “The process has made it clear that we face strong competition from Apple and its App Store, as well as the app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles,” he continued.

Google’s defeat comes in an already difficult legal context for the American company: the USA accuses it of maintaining a monopoly on the search engine market. A historic trial took place in the fall; the verdict has not yet been determined.

For its part, the Fortnite studio is even more pleased with its victory since it lost an important round in the trial against Apple in 2021 for the same reasons.

An American federal judge had ordered the iPhone maker to allow an alternative payment system in the App Store, but also ruled that Epic had not proven that Apple had violated competition law.

Epic accuses Apple and Google on Android and iOS of requiring application developers to use their download platforms (Play Store and App Store) and payment systems and charging them commissions that are too high (30%).

“Everyone wins”

In contrast to the Apple brand, Google allows alternative stores. But according to the publisher of Fortnite, this is an illusion, and Android is hardly more open than iOS.

“Only 3% of Android phones in the United States have successfully downloaded another app store from the Internet,” Gary Bornstein, Epic’s attorney, noted in his closing argument Monday.

Above all, he criticized Google for abusing its power to conclude contracts with various companies in order to secure the application distribution market.

A similar argument to that of the Justice Department prosecutors, who accuse the Californian company of having built its empire not thanks to its popularity, but through illegal exclusivity contracts, so that its search engine is installed by default on devices and services from Apple and especially Samsung.

“Epic is fighting a monopoly. If Epic wins, everyone wins,” assured Gary Bornstein.

“That’s wrong,” replied Jonathan Kravis, Google’s lawyer.

He argued that the publisher does not charge less to users who go through its own store (rather than through Android or a gaming console), despite the lack of commission. “Epic’s actions speak louder than its words.”

Epic Games wanted to be able to use the Play Store “for free,” he countered again. “Dear jurors, we all want extraordinary things for free. But competition law does not require Google to offer its services for free.”