Epic Games, the maker of the popular game “Fortnite,” has launched a battle against Google in federal court in a closely watched antitrust showdown that could reshape the way smartphone users get and pay for Android apps. -app-content. From a report: Epic’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California takes aim at the Google Play Store, focusing on Google’s fees for in-app subscriptions and one-time transactions, along with other terms that app developers say like Epic helped Google maintain an illegal monopoly in app distribution.
The legal battle follows years of debate over whether app store operators like Google and Apple foster an open, competitive app ecosystem. The two companies claim their app stores help unlock billions in revenue for small businesses, while ensuring Android and iOS users benefit from the security oversight the tech giants provide. The jury may hear high-profile witnesses from both sides testify, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.
The lawsuit dates back to 2020, when Epic launched Project Liberty, a scheme to circumvent Apple and Google’s app store terms. That move by Epic forced a confrontation with the technology giants. Epic has updated the Fortnite app to encourage players to pay for in-app content directly through Epic’s own website – rather than through Apple and Google’s in-app payment systems. This gamble led to a violation of the app stores’ developer terms. The move also prompted both app stores to remove the Fortnite app from their platforms.