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Landmark Verdict: Google’s App Store Monopoly Ruled Illegal by US Federal Jury

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CARLIFONIA, USA – In a decision that marks a watershed moment in the tech industry, a federal jury has declared Google‘s dominance over its Android app store as an illegal monopoly.

This verdict concludes the intense legal battle waged by Epic Games, the developer of the widely acclaimed video game “Fortnite,” against Google’s longstanding app store practices.

The Battle Unfolds

The jury, after meticulous deliberation, ruled that Google had violated US antitrust laws through its management of the Android app store.

This encompasses Google’s strategies around in-app purchase fees and its restrictive contracts preventing competing app stores on Android devices.

The decision is a significant victory for Epic Games, representing a crack in the previously impervious facade of app store operators.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney heralded the decision in a celebratory post, saying, “Victory over Google! After 4 weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts.”

Google’s Stance and Planned Appeal

Google, in response, signaled its intention to contest the ruling.

Wilson White, the company’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, emphasized the diversity and openness of the Android and Google Play platforms.

“Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform,” said White stated.

“The trial made clear that we compete fiercely with Apple and its App Store, as well as app stores on Android devices and gaming consoles. We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem.”

Google’s challenge to the verdict underscores the high stakes for the tech giant, whose app store business model is now under threat.

Contrast with Apple’s Case

The verdict against Google stands in stark contrast to Epic Games’ parallel legal challenge against Apple.

In that case, Epic largely suffered defeat in the lower courts and is currently appealing to the US Supreme Court. The differing outcomes in these cases highlight the complexity and evolving nature of antitrust discussions in the digital domain.

Roots of the Legal Challenge

Epic Games initiated its legal battle as part of Project Liberty, a strategic move to confront the app store policies of giants like Apple and Google.

This began when Epic Games bypassed the standard app store channels for in-game currency purchases in “Fortnite,” leading to its removal from both Google and Apple’s app stores.

Both Google and Apple have consistently defended their app store models, arguing they ensure user security and contribute to a robust digital ecosystem.

Google, distinguishing itself from Apple, pointed to the Android system’s flexibility in allowing third-party app downloads.

Implications and Future Prospects

This verdict could be the precursor to significant changes in how Google operates its app store, particularly concerning fee collection from developers and the facilitation of third-party app stores on Android. The ruling arrives amid stalled legislative efforts in the US to regulate app store practices, with tech giants vigorously opposing such changes.

Consumer advocacy groups have welcomed the verdict. Katherine Van Dyck of the American Economic Liberties Project views it as a crucial step in curbing the disproportionate influence of big tech companies.

Meanwhile, technology commentator Anil Dash interprets this as part of a broader shift reshaping the internet economy, potentially redefining user experiences and market dynamics.

“The app stores are cracking open, walls between social media platforms are coming down as the old networks fail, the headlong rush to AI is making all the search engines worse, and the open web is more powerful than ever,” Dash expressed on Threads. “We are about to see the biggest reshuffling of power on the internet in 20 years. Most users have never seen this kind of change.”

 

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As the case progresses into the remedy phase, the industry braces for potential foundational changes that could redefine the app store landscape and, by extension, the broader tech ecosystem.

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