One of the many antitrust lawsuits Google’s facing in recent months.
Epic Games and Google’s battle over the Play Store fees is now seeing the light of day at the US District Court in California’s Northern District. The lawsuit in question targets Google’s pricing for one-time purchases and in-app subscriptions, which Epic believes has helped create a monopoly for the Mountainview-based tech company.
At the heart of the court battle is the debate about whether app store owners, Google and Apple, allow fair competition and pricing. The tech companies believe their app stores unlock billions in revenue potential for smaller app developers and also ensure security for the consumer.
Epic’s challenge to App store owners
The lawsuit follows a move in 2021 where Epic Games encouraged users to pay directly within the game and thereby circumvent the Playstore (and iOS) fees. This set them on a direct collision course with the two app store tech companies. Fortnite players could purchase V-Bucks from inside the game at a discount. Both Google and Apple removed Fortnite from their stores.
IOS users could not play Fortnite on their devices. Playstore users could not download the game from the official playstore, although there were means to play the game through other means. Epic Games has also filed a similar lawsuit against Apple, one that may be reviewed in the United States Supreme Court shortly. The current lawsuit by Epic Games against Google was heard in the US District Court in California’s Northern District.
It’s Epic vs Google
The original lawsuit involved multiple plaintiffs including several State Attorneys generals amongst others. Google reached settlements with several of these prospective plaintiffs and now it’s just Epic vs Google in the court. Google reached a settlement with dozens of State Attorney Generals in September while the Match Group withdrew their lawsuit against Google earlier this month.
The case is still ongoing in the court and there are expectations of several high-profile testimonies. Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, and Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, are also expected to testify.
Meanwhile, a Federal Judge in Virginia is considering a separate Justice Department lawsuit that alleges Google is abusing its dominant position over technology to control how it delivers ads online. That lawsuit is expected to kick off sometime in 2024.