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Competition process: “Fortnite” developer wins lawsuit against Google for market monopoly

The US video game developer Epic Games has won the competition against Google. A jury in the Californian city of San Francisco ruled that Google had formed an illegal monopoly with its app marketplace Play Store and the payment system there. “Victory over Google!” wrote Epic boss Tim Sweeney on Platform X after the verdict.

The court must now decide what consequences arise from the jury’s verdict. Google immediately announced an appeal against the ruling.

Epic Games went to court against Google in 2020. The trigger was the fees of around 30 percent that Google withholds from app sales. The Fortnite developer accused Google of an illegal monopoly.

Epic Games also sued the technology company Apple in 2020. In this case, a California federal judge ruled in 2021 that Apple had to open its App Store’s payment system to developers. At the same time, the judge rejected Epic Games’ accusation that Apple had a monopoly. The trial against Google only began at the beginning of November.

Apple and Google believe fees are justified

The Apple and Google operating systems, iOS and Android, run on the majority of smartphones. Epic Games took on the two companies in 2020 and released an update with its own payment system that bypasses Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. The two technology companies then blocked the Fortnite app for mobile devices, and Epic Games took the dispute to court.

Unlike iPhone manufacturer Apple, Google allows Android users access to other platforms to download apps and games. However, Epic Games argues that the system is actually hardly more open than Apple’s iOS. One way Google secures its market power is through contracts with other companies.

Apple and Google repeatedly argue that the commission on app sales of 30 percent is in line with the market. The income generated is necessary to guarantee the security of the app marketplaces and payments.

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