Google loses to Epic in antitrust case

Google has lost its antitrust case to Epic Games, with a US jury concluding that the Google Play Store constitutes a monopoly.

Several years after Epic Games started suing Apple and Google for perceived monopolistic practices, and two years after it largely failed to land anything substantial on Apple, the company has scored a major victory in the courts. The jury is in on Epic v. Google, and they found against the internet giant on all three key points that were put to them.

According to the verdict, Google was indeed supplying an antitrust market in both app distribution and in-app purchasing services, both of which fall under the the Google Play Store banner.

The jury also affirmed that Google had acquired its monopolistic power through anticompetitive conduct within both of those markets.

Finally, the US jury found that Epic was indeed injured by Google’s monopolistic practices, and that Google had “entered into one or more agreements that unreasonably restrained trade”.

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of the company that makes the popular Fortnite game, has taken to Twitter to announce Epic’s victory.

In a more detailed post on the Epic website, the company calls the verdict “a win for all app developers and consumers around the world”.

“The evidence presented in this case demonstrates the urgent need for legislation and regulations that address Apple and Google strangleholds over smartphones, including with promising legislation in progress right now with the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill in the UK and the Digital Markets Act in the EU,” it concluded.

It’s now up to the judge for the case to decide what remedial steps Google should take. As reported by The Verge, Judge James Donato has ruled out stipulating a specific lower percentage cut of app profits for Google. It currently sits at 30 percent.

Epic isn’t suing for damages here either, so any major monetary gains will be attained through enforced structural changes rather than a huge payout.

Google, for its part, has said that it plans to challenge the verdict. “We compete fiercely with Apple and its App Store, as well as app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles”, said Google VP Wilson White.