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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Federal Jury Rules Google’s Play Store Violates Antitrust Laws in Epic Games Lawsuit

In a significant legal development, a federal jury has concluded that Google’s Play Store infringes antitrust laws in a lawsuit filed by Epic Games. This verdict, if upheld through the appeal process, could potentially disrupt the way major mobile operating systems regulate the distribution of third-party apps on devices. Google and Apple have long asserted that the rules and restrictions imposed on their app stores are designed to benefit consumers.

The jury’s decision favored Epic Games on all aspects it was tasked to consider. It affirmed that Google holds monopoly power in both the Android app distribution markets and in-app billing services markets. The jury further concluded that Google engaged in anticompetitive practices in these markets, leading to injury for Epic Games. Additionally, the jury found an illicit tie between Google’s Play app store and its Play Billing payment services, deeming the distribution agreement, Project Hug, and deals with game developers and OEMs as anticompetitive.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney expressed his satisfaction with the verdict, stating, “Victory over Google! After 4 weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts. The Court’s work on remedies will start in January. Thanks for everyone’s support and faith! Free Fortnite!”

The origins of the legal battle trace back to 2020 when Epic Games updated its Fortnite game on iOS and Android, enabling players to make virtual item purchases directly from Epic, circumventing the 30% commission charged by phone-makers on in-app transactions. Subsequently, both Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their app stores, asserting policy violations by Epic. The game developer responded with lawsuits against both tech giants, alleging that their control over the app stores constituted anti-competitive monopolies. The implications of this ruling could extend beyond the immediate case, potentially impacting the broader app store landscape.

This story is developing, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

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Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay is an American broadcaster, media blogger, and podcast host. Currently, Ruben is the President of MultiMediaMouth.com and the executive producer and host of the popular podcasts You’re My Best Friend and ON AIR with Ruben Jay, exclusively on MultiMediaMouth.com. Follow Ruben on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @TheRubenJay.

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