This afternoon, a jury handed Epic Games a win in its antitrust lawsuit against Google. For three years, the game publisher has sued both Apple and Google over the companies’ alleged anticompetitive practices.
While Epic largely lost its antitrust case against Apple, the Fortnite and Rocket League publisher prevailed over Google. There are key distinctions between the cases against Apple and Google. First, a judge ruled in the Apple case compared to a jury in Google’s. Also unlike Apple, Google needed to contract with third-party phone manufacturers to control their ecosystem.
“Despite seeming to many like the tougher case, it’s not surprising to me that Google lost more than Apple did,” said Richard Hoeg, a lawyer at Hoeg Law, told GamesBeat via DM. “For all its warts, Apple never had to contract with a third party to try to exert control over its wholly owned ecosystem. Google did, and I suspect the poor optics of that led directly to the loss meted out by this jury. Still a ways to go to see if Epic wins anything tangible for the fortune it’s spent, though.”
U.S. District Court judge James Donato in San Francisco still needs to rule on the potential outcome and address any appeals. Notably, Epic’s complaint said the company “does not seek monetary damages for the injuries it has suffered. Instead, Epic seeks injunctive relief that would make good on Google’s broken promises.” With a ruling to come, industry analysts are speculating about the wider-reaching consequences.
“It’s the beginning of the Google break-up,” said Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project and author of Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy, told GamesBeat via DM. Given that the ruling covers “Android’s in-app billing services for digital goods and services transactions,” the consequences will likely be far reaching.
“The monopoly is over. This bears on Apple’s appeal, they should lose as well. Good for developers and ultimately good for gamers,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, in an email to GamesBeat.
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