Google loses app store antitrust suit brought by Fortnite in a decision that could cost the tech giant billions

  • A jury on Monday found Google violated antitrust policies in its Play Store for Android systems.

  • Fortnite developer Epic Games proved Google held a monopoly in the store and limited competitors.

  • The ruling may force changes to Google Play, which brings in billions for the company.

Google just lost a landmark antitrust case.

A jury on Monday sided with Fortnite developer Epic Games, finding that the tech giant held a monopoly in its Google Play Store for Android operating systems, limiting the reach of competitors' apps and charging high fees for processing in-app purchases.

They deliberated for less than four hours, The New York Times reported, before ultimately affirming Epic Games' argument in each of the 11 separate questions before them, determining that Google had acted anticompetitively in all 11.

Epic initially filed the lawsuit after its popular game, Fortnite, was banned from the Play Store after Epic allowed users to buy in-game features from the game developer directly, circumventing Google's 15 to 30% fees on in-app purchases.

"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," Epic Games said in a statement released after the verdict.

The statement added: "Over the course of the trial we saw evidence that Google was willing to pay billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores by paying developers to abandon their own store efforts and direct distribution plans, and offering highly lucrative agreements with device manufacturers in exchange for excluding competing app stores."

Depending on the judge's ruling on how Google must remedy the violations, the verdict may force changes to the operations of the Play Store, which Reuters reported brings in billions of dollars for the company each year.

A similar suit by Epic Games, brought against Apple for its App Store antics in 2021, failed.

"We plan to challenge the verdict. Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform," Wilson White, Google's VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy, said in a statement to Business Insider. "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."

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