In short: Whereas Google’s Play Retailer distributes most Android apps, the cellular working system is technically an open platform. Google would not outright cease customers from putting in apps from outdoors its retailer, however Epic has accused it of discouraging the institution of rival app shops.
Court docket filings from this week shed extra gentle on Epic’s claims that Google paid different firms to forestall them from beginning unbiased app distribution channels. Such different app shops would circumvent Android’s Google Play Retailer and its 30 % gross sales fee, which Epic has performed since Google kicked Fortnite off the storefront.
Epic’s ongoing authorized combat with Google claims the search large paid Activision $360 million to maintain the Android variations of its video games like Sweet Crush unique to the Play Retailer. Google additionally allegedly entered an identical take care of Nintendo, Ubisoft, and League of Legends maker Riot Video games, paying Riot $30 million. Epic considers the Play Retailer’s centrality to the Android platform a monopoly.
The allegations got here from a newly unredacted model of its antitrust lawsuit in opposition to Google. Activision company affairs EVP and COO Lulu Cheng Meservey flatly denied Epic’s assertion, saying Activision has already delivered testimony and paperwork countering these accusations.
Epic is accusing Activision Blizzard’s accomplice Google of paying us to not compete with them.
To be clear: that is false.
Google by no means requested us, pressured us, or made us agree to not compete with them – and we have already submitted paperwork and testimony disproving this nonsense.
— Lulu Cheng Meservey (@lulumeservey) November 17, 2022
Final yr, Epic quoted Google’s inner communications mentioning offers to pay firms to move off competitors to the Play Retailer. The corporate thought of shopping for some or all of Epic to combat its lawsuit. Its plan, dubbed “Undertaking Hug,” additionally concerned paying companions for YouTube posts and awarding them credit in the direction of Google adverts and cloud companies.
In the meantime, a quasi-related authorized battle between Epic and Apple has lately entered a brand new part. Final yr, a US District Court docket choose ruled largely in favor of Apple after Epic claimed the corporate’s app retailer constituted a monopoly on iOS software program distribution. Each firms appealed the ruling, and the case entered appeals court docket this week, beginning with oral arguments.
On the opposite facet of the pond, European Union laws could finally push cellular ecosystems towards Epic’s desired place no matter a US court docket ruling. The EU lately enacted its Digital Markets Act, which may drive Apple and Google to make their walled gardens extra open over the following few years.
Friction between Epic, Apple, and Google has gotten Fortnite kicked off each cellular app shops. Enjoying Fortnite natively on Android requires downloading Epic’s launcher or getting it from the Samsung Galaxy retailer. On Apple’s iOS, it is solely accessible by cloud gaming companies like Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now.