The lowdown Google vs. Epic Games

The maker of Fortnite is hoping to score a victory royale against one of the titans of tech. 

What happened: A long-awaited antitrust trial between Google and Epic Games kicked off yesterday. Epic argues that Google makes it too difficult for both developers and Android users to upload, download, or make purchases through anything other than its app store, allowing Google to control an illegal monopoly and enrich itself through its exorbitant fees.

Catch-up: Way back in 2020, Epic accused both Google and Apple in separate lawsuits of app store monopolies following an incident where Fornite was booted off their app stores

Epic thinks things could turn out differently this time, if…  

  • The court decides that the relevant market under discussion is one you could reasonably claim that Google has a monopoly on, i.e. “Android phone apps.”

  • Epic can convince average citizens of Google’s corporate wrongdoing. Unlike the Apple case, the verdict will be determined by a jury, which could be easier.

  • The accusations are more substantial. Epic claims it has evidence of Google forcing phone makers to pre-install and promote Google apps on their devices.

Why it matters: Google faces a blitzkrieg of antitrust challenges from tech companies and domestic and foreign regulators that could force the company to upend its practices. One of the most prominent is a suit challenging its position as the de facto search engine for most smartphones — if the company loses, users could get to choose their own search defaults.  

Bottom line: “It’s hard to imagine Google makes it out of the gauntlet,” one lawyer told The New York Times. “At some point with this many cases, one breaks against you.”—QH