Epic Games seeks Google app store changes after antitrust win

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Epic Games, the creator of the “Fortnite” video game, has urged a federal judge in California to compel Google to increase competition by opening up its Play Store.

This request comes after a jury found that Google had abused its authority as a gatekeeper for Android mobile platform apps.

In a court filing on Thursday to U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco, Epic proposed several measures, including requiring the Google Play Store to allow the distribution of competing third-party app stores for six years.

Additionally, Epic suggested limiting Google’s ability to make agreements with device manufacturers to restrict the preloading of competing app stores.

Representatives from Google and Epic did not immediately respond to requests for comment. While Donato is not obligated to grant Epic’s proposal, a contentious legal battle is expected before any permanent order on Google is issued.

However, this filing sets the stage for the next significant examination of Google’s control over app developers and consumers.

The jury verdict in December concluded that Google unlawfully hindered developers’ ability to distribute their apps freely outside of the Play Store and exerted excessive control over in-app transaction payments.

Epic’s proposed injunction also seeks to prevent Google from limiting “the ways an app can inform users about out-of-app purchasing options.” Google has defended its app store practices, refuting any wrongdoing.

The company has until May 3 to respond to Epic’s proposal, which did not include demands for monetary damages.

Epic Games, headquartered in North Carolina, is privately held, with China’s Tencent holding a 40% stake and Walt Disney holding about 9% as of February.

Separately, in December, Google agreed to pay $700 million to settle state and consumer allegations regarding its Play Store restrictions. Google stated that it was expanding options for app and game developers to offer consumers alternative billing options for in-app purchases.

Google has announced plans to appeal the December antitrust jury verdict and can challenge any reforms ordered by Donato, potentially prolonging the case for years. Epic’s similar case against Apple, filed in 2020 challenging its control over the App Store, is ongoing after a non-jury trial and subsequent appeals.

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *