Epic Games Battles Google for Open App Stores and Freedom for Developers and Users

Epic Games has engaged in a heated battle with Google, demanding an end to the monopoly on the Play Store and greater freedom for developers and users.

Last year, Epic Games prevailed in an antitrust case against Google, where a jury ruled that the internet giant has an illegal monopoly over in-app payments and the distribution of apps on Android devices. The company also collaborated with some game developers and smartphone manufacturers to engage in anti-competitive practices.

When Epic Games filed the antitrust case against Google, the details of the related rulings were not clear, and we did not know what the company was truly seeking. Now, the creator of the popular game Fortnite has proposed a plan for a permanent injunction against Google that outlines the company’s demands in detail.

In summary, Epic Games wants to open up the Play Store to virtually all game and software companies. In the future, Android phones may be shipped with the Epic Games Store as the default.

According to Epic Games’ press statement, the company’s proposed order is based on three key principles. Firstly, Epic Games believes that Google should allow users to download apps from anywhere without any restrictions, similar to how they can install programs on a computer, whether through a third-party app store or direct downloads.

Epic Games wants to prevent Google from intimidating users from downloading apps from the web. The company also wants Google to refrain from collaborating with operators and phone manufacturers to limit app download options.

Another request from Epic Games is to prohibit the enforcement of restrictions on pre-installed app stores. If this order is approved, we may see Android phones in the future that come pre-installed with the Epic Games Store.

Epic Games wants Google to give developers and users freedom of choice in in-app purchases. The company says Google should allow developers to use discounted links to alternative payment services in their apps, so they can avoid Google’s Play Store in-app payment commissions.

Epic Games’ legal battle with Google and Apple began in 2020, when it claimed that Fortnite mobile players could save on their expenses by making direct V-Bucks purchases. According to the proposed order, Google cannot prevent the use of alternative payment options in apps and games.

The final element of Epic Games’ proposed order is to prevent retaliatory actions by Google. The company wrote in its explanation that Google has a history of retaliatory measures and attempts to circumvent antitrust regulations related to Android devices. The goal of their proposal is to prevent the repetition of Google’s past tactics and open up Android devices to competition and choice for all developers and consumers.

Epic Games’ requests include more details, such as requiring Google to separate its products and services, like Android APIs, from the Play Store. The Fortnite creator wants Google to allow third-party app stores to enter the Play Store without fees and have access to its app library for six years. Additionally, these third-party stores should be able to manage updates for Play Store apps.

The court’s response to Epic Games’ requests will be known soon, and Google will have until May 2 to respond to the proposal. A hearing on the permanent injunction is scheduled for May 23.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that Epic Games’ legal action in the U.S. federal court once again shows that they are only seeking the benefits of using the Play Store without paying. Google will continue to challenge the court’s ruling, as Android is an open-source platform that faces fierce competition from the Apple App Store and other app marketplaces.

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