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Judge Instructs Google to Calculate Epic Games Store Costs

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 29, 2024

Judge Instructs Google to Calculate Epic Games Store Costs

A California court has mandated Google to evaluate the costs and technical requirements necessary for accommodating a third-party app store within Google Play. This directive is a part of the antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games against Google, which alleges that Google has monopolized the Android app market to stifle competition.

Epic Games, renowned for developing Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, has successfully challenged Google’s market practices. As a result of their legal victory, Epic has proposed several changes to Google Play’s operations in a 16-page document. These include ending practices deemed unfair and introducing a third-party app store and billing system, aiming to level the playing field with Google Play.

This request has stirred considerable debate about the feasibility and potential repercussions of allowing alternative app stores on Google’s platform. Critics argue that this move could lead to operational chaos within the app market.

During a court session on May 24, 2024, Judge James Donato ordered Google to provide a detailed account by June 24, 2024, outlining the technical and economic costs associated with allowing access to competing app stores for a period of up to six years. This report is expected to cover the specifics of providing ‘catalog access’ and ‘library porting,’ as well as the logistics of distributing a third-party app store through Google Play.

Epic Games will then have the opportunity to challenge Google’s findings during a hearing set for August 14, 2024, where Google’s experts and engineers will be cross-examined.

Judge Donato critiqued the vagueness of Epic Games’ demands but was unequivocal about the need for regulatory action against Google. He emphasized that the case’s focus is on fostering overall market competition and dismantling barriers, not just providing remedies exclusive to Epic Games. He remarked, “Let me be clear: Google, an illegal monopoly, will have to pay some fines. This case is about competitive opportunity in general.”

Google has expressed concerns that fulfilling Epic’s demands could destabilize the app store ecosystem. However, Judge Donato expressed skepticism towards Google’s apprehensions, highlighting the importance of challenging the status quo to ensure a fair competitive landscape.

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Featured Image courtesy of Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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