Federal Jury Rules Against Google’s Android App Store In Epic Games Lawsuit – Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)


Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), has been dealt a blow after a federal jury ruled that its search engine arm, Google, unfairly exploited antitrust barriers through its Android app store, the Play Store. The lawsuit was brought forward by Epic Games, the creators of the popular video game Fortnite.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict after a four-week trial, stating that Google’s Play Store had taken advantage of its dominant position to maintain a monopoly and harm both consumers and software developers. Google, like Apple, charges a commission of 15-30% on digital transactions made within apps on its platform.

This outcome is different from Epic Games’ loss in a similar case against Apple. Despite Google’s policy of allowing Android apps to be downloaded from multiple stores, a flexibility not provided by Apple for the iPhone, the jury found Google guilty.

U.S. District Judge James Donato, who had previously denied Google’s bid to prevent a jury trial, will now determine the appropriate measures for Google to rectify its illegal behavior in the Play Store. Hearings on this matter are expected in the second week of January.

The verdict brought a smile to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s face, who was seen congratulating his lawyers and even shaking hands with a Google attorney.

This ruling holds significance as Epic Games had accused Google of employing “bribe and block” tactics to suppress competition within the Play Store. According to Epic’s attorney, Gary Bornstein, Google’s actions resulted in inflated prices, compromised quality, and fewer consumer choices, all while boosting Google’s profits.

Moreover, the trial also shed light on Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai admitting to deleting internal chats during court proceedings. Pichai explained that he sometimes labeled documents as “privileged” and didn’t disable a setting, leading to the deletion of internal chats after a day. Epic Games has criticized Google Play Store’s policies as monopolistic.

This legal setback for Google highlights the increasing scrutiny and challenges faced by tech giants regarding their app store practices. The outcome of this case could have implications for the broader app store ecosystem and may lead to changes in how Google operates its Play Store.

It remains to be seen what measures Judge James Donato will impose on Google to address its antitrust violations. However, this ruling serves as a reminder that even the largest tech companies are not immune to legal consequences and that fair competition and consumer welfare should remain paramount in the digital marketplace.

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