Google Play Store deemed a monopoly in Epic court case

12 Dec 2023

Image: © Konstantin Savusia/

Epic Games said the result is a win for app developers and consumers around the world and is calling for more regulation against Apple and Google’s app store dominance.

Three years after suing Google and Apple, Epic Games has managed to score a major victory in court.

The antitrust case between Epic and Google ended in favour of the Fortnite game creator. The jury voted that Google has monopoly power when it comes to its Play Store and that it has engaged in anticompetitive practices. The jury also agreed that Google has unlawfully made a link between the Google Play Store and the Google Play Billing payment services.

In a statement, Epic Games called the result a win for “all app developers and consumers” around the world. The company also claimed that Google abuses its monopoly to “extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation”.

The Fortnite maker said Google stifles alternative app stores by paying developers to “abandon their own store efforts” and that the company makes deals with device manufacturers to exclude competing app stores.

“Google imposes a 30pc tax on developers simply because they have prevented any viable competitors from emerging to offer better deals,” Epic Games said. “And Google executives acknowledged in court that their offer of a 26pc rate on third-party payment options is a fake choice for developers.”

The case began in 2020 after Epic Games introduced an in-game payment system to the popular Fortnite app. This system would allow users to pay directly for in-app purchases, circumventing the official payment systems put in place by Apple and Google in their app stores.

As a result, both Apple and Google banned Fortnite from their app stores and claimed the payment system violated the policies of both stores.

Epic Games filed cases against both Google and Apple, but the case against the iPhone maker has been less successful. An appeal verdict from a US court earlier this year was labelled as a “resounding victory” by Apple.

A Google spokesperson told The Verge that the company plans to challenge the latest verdict.

Meanwhile, it appears that Epic Games will continue to push for changes to the two major app stores on the market. “The evidence presented in this case demonstrates the urgent need for legislation and regulations that address Apple and Google strangleholds over smartphones, including with promising legislation in progress right now with the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill in the UK and the Digital Markets Act in the EU,” Epic Games said.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic