Epic has renewed its fight against app store restrictions on mobile platforms, filing an update to its antitrust case against Google. File adds mostly drafted details of Google’s alleged monopoly behavior on Android, including Epic’s gaming ban Fortnite from the Google Play Store last year. The amended complaint comes shortly after a judge formally linked the case to a recent multi-state lawsuit, which targeted Google Play Store policies.
Epic’s complaint draws on information gleaned from government antitrust investigations and documents produced since the original trial. An addition, for example, includes details revealed last year about “Google’s close relationship with Apple,” including a payment deal. between 8 and 12 billion dollars be Apple’s default search engine. It also includes new information about Google’s alleged anti-competitive behavior, including its deals with phone makers and alternative app stores. Most of that information, however, has been sealed – leaving only clues to what claims the case might be based on.
Google denied the allegations in a statement to The edge. âThe open Android ecosystem allows developers to distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our rules. We will continue to defend ourselves against these unfounded claims, âsaid spokesman JosÃ© CastaÃ±eda.
Among the new information drafted, Epic apparently describes its launch plans Fortnite on the Samsung Galaxy Store. âGoogle was determined not to let this happen,â the complaint says, so it offered Epic a âspecial offerâ to launch on Google Play. When Epic rejected the deal, Google reportedly took further anti-competitive action, but details of that action are not available.
Google’s relationship with Samsung came under a microscope earlier this month when 36 states and the District of Columbia sued Google for violating antitrust law. The Epic complaint cites some allegations that were raised in that complaint, such as an agreement to turn the Samsung Galaxy Store into a rebranded Play Store – something the new case reveals was called “Project Agave.” Epic’s brief suggests that whether the lawsuit continues, part of it will depend on how Google has responded to the prospect of an Epic-Samsung deal.
Apart from these and other redacted allegations, the complaint makes the same basic argument as Epic’s. initial trial in August. It says Google’s “open” Android ecosystem is still functionally monopolistic, preventing other app stores or side-effects from competing on a par with Google’s official Play Store platform. It is to seek the capacity to place Fortnite in the Google Play Store with an independent payment processing system and the end of other allegedly non-competitive actions – which, in its complaint, include the relatively long and expensive process of launching a sideloaded app.
Epic and Google were originally scheduled to appear today at a hearing on the future of the case. But the parties have agreed to push back the timeline while Epic files an amended complaint. Judge James Donato also agreed to consolidate the early parts of the case with the state trial on the Play Store. A Proposed timeline From the beginning of the month, Google has until August 20 to file a motion to dismiss, then sets a hearing in the case for October 14. Google has already disputed legal complaints against the Play Store, claiming that Google’s platform “offers more openness and choice than others.”
Epic vs. Google evolved more slowly than Epic’s lawsuit against Apple, which went to trial in May and is awaiting a verdict. Epic vs. Apple revolved around slightly different questions because unlike Apple, Google allows third-party apps or stores. Unlike iOS, Fortnite is not locked on Android while the case is going on; you can still download it directly from the Epic site. But both lawsuits claim that the developer platform rules are unfair and anti-competitive – and in Epic vs. GoogleEpic also found common cause with government antitrust watchdogs.
Update 1:20 p.m. ET: Added a comment from Google.