The lawsuit between Epic Games and Google over Play Store fees has now reached the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Epic feels that Google’s pricing for one-time purchases and in-app subscriptions has contributed to the Mountainview-based tech company’s monopoly.
The issue over whether app store owners, Google and Apple, allow fair competition and pricing is at the heart of the court struggle. The internet titans claim that their app stores would unlock billions of dollars in income possibilities for smaller app developers while also ensuring customer security.
Epic’s challenge to App store owners
The complaint follows Epic Games’ decision in 2021 to encourage customers to pay directly within the game, so avoiding Playstore (and iOS) expenses. This put them squarely in the path of the two app store tech businesses. Fortnite players could save money by purchasing V-Bucks from within the game. Google and Apple both pulled Fortnite from their respective storefronts.
Users with iOS devices were unable to play Fortnite. Playstore customers could not download the game from the official playstore, however there were other ways to play the game. Epic Games has also filed a similar claim against Apple, which may be heard soon by the United States Supreme Court. Epic Games’ current action against Google was heard in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
It’s Epic vs Google
The original action included a number of plaintiffs, including numerous state attorneys general. Google reached settlements with several of these potential plaintiffs, and the case is now only between Epic and Google. In September, Google negotiated an agreement with dozens of state attorneys general, and the Match Group dropped their case against Google earlier this month.
The case is still being heard in court, and several high-profile witnesses are expected to testify. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, are also slated to speak.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Virginia is reviewing a separate Justice Department case alleging that Google is abusing its technological dominance to control how ads are delivered online. The lawsuit is likely to be filed in 2024.