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It's taken more than a Fortnite, but jury says the Google Play Store is a monopoly

What does this mean for Google's deals with developers and OEMs, though?
By
December 12, 2023
Google Play Store app on smartphone UI stock photo (1)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A US jury has ruled in favor of Epic in its long-running battle against Google.
  • The jury found that the Play Store and Play Store billing were an illegal monopoly.
  • Google has confirmed its plan to challenge the verdict.

Epic has been embroiled in a legal battle against Google for a few years now over allegations that the Play Store and Play Store billing was an illegal monopoly. Now, a jury has ruled in favor of Epic, handing the company a major win.

The US jury answered “yes” to all questions posed by the court (h/t: The Verge), namely that the Play Store and Play Store billing was a monopoly, that Google engaged in “anticompetitive conduct” to gain or maintain this monopoly, and that Epic was “injured” as a result of Google’s aforementioned conduct.

The jury also agreed that Google’s deals with app developers (e.g. Project Hug), the Play Store’s developer distribution agreement, and its deals with device OEMs were anticompetitive.

Epic issued a statement on its website, claiming that this was a win for developers and users alike:

Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world. It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation.

Meanwhile, Google shared an emailed statement with Android Authority, confirming its intention to appeal the ruling:

We plan to challenge the verdict. Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform. 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.

The judge hasn’t decided on specific remedies Google will have to take. Nevertheless, this has the potential to seriously shake up Google’s agreements with developers and OEMs.