Epic Games and Match Group now have a court date for their antitrust case against Google. A judge for the Northern District of California has set a jury trial for November 6. Both Epic and Match accuse Google of abusing its control over the distribution of Android apps through the Play Store by instituting unfair fees and requirements for in-app purchases. This comes alongside a lawsuit from 39 attorneys general as well as a customer class action suit demanding $4.7 billion in damages.
Epic sued Google in 2020 after the Android creator kicked out Fortnite out of the Play Store to allow customers to use another in-app payment system. Match sued Google last year over the “non-orbiting” store fee. Epic and Match consolidated their case and filed a motion last fall to expand their allegations, accusing Google of additional antitrust violations by paying large developers hundreds of millions of dollars to keep their apps in the Play Store.
Unlike Epic’s successful lawsuit against Apple, this case must acknowledge that customers have a choice. Where Apple requires all regular app downloads to go through the App Store, Android’s sideloading option allows customers to install software without downloading it from Google. The issue, as you might imagine, is that those apps are harder to install and less likely to be noticed when the Play Store is included by default on many Android phones.
Google denies abusing its power, and insists that the fees are necessary to maintain and invest in the Play Store. It asserts that the incentive program does not prevent developers from launching third-party stores, and that its portal offers fair competition. In December, Google asked the court to deny the extended requests regarding timing and other issues.
Google has made some concessions, including a test program for Play Store billing options. That pilot still gives Google a cut on every transaction, though, and it remains to be seen whether such moves will satisfy the court and regulators. As it is, the internet pioneer is facing a slew of other antitrust cases including a Justice Department lawsuit from 2020. Even if Google prevails against Epic and Match, it may not escape without harm.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at time of publication.