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Google’s Play Store monopoly ends with $700 million Epic win (update)

Of course, Google, being Google, plans to appeal the verdict.

Image of a tribunal with google's logo in the center
Image: KnowTechie

UPDATE 12/20/2023:  Google, just flashed its wallet and said, “Let’s make this go away.” They’re coughing up a cool $700 million to settle the score with a number of states that weren’t too happy about the whole ‘one app store to rule them all’ vibe.

Google has been dealt a major blow. A jury, in what can only be described as a unanimous tech judgment, found that Google’s Play Store practices on Android devices violated antitrust laws.

In layman’s terms, Google’s been playing Monopoly, only this isn’t a board game, and there’s no ‘get out of jail free’ card.

This legal punch has been delivered courtesy of Epic Games, the creators of FortniteEpic accused Google of stifling competition and restricting alternatives to the Play Store, which, mind you, accounts for over 95% of Android app downloads in the US.

Epic Games argued their case over 11 questions before the jury, and after three weeks of deliberations and only three hours of final pondering, the jury sided with Epic.

Epic Games, living up to their name, celebrated the verdict via a blog post, stating the win as a victory not just for them but for all developers and consumers.

“Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world. It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation.”

Google logo with blurred pixel background
Image: KnowTechie

What happens now?

Google has to pay up. And they’re doing it sooner than later, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Alphabet just decided to smooth things over with a hefty $700 million payout. That’s right, the Google mothership is settling up to put an end to the grumbles about Google Play’s grip on the app world.

Some states threw the monopoly card on the table, claiming Google Play was elbowing out the competition on Android devices.

But it’s not just about the cash—Google’s also pledging to tweak a few dials on the Google Play store. They’re shaking hands on making it a bit more playground-friendly for other app distributors to come and play.

Bottom line: Even the big fish in the tech sea have to swim by the rules. Google’s making moves to keep things cool on the legal front, and we’re all eyes on how this will mix up the app marketplace

Google, being Google, plans to appeal the verdict, telling the WSJ that the fight was “far from over.”

The fun is just getting started, folks. Meanwhile, Google is also preparing for an antitrust case regarding their search business, set for a ruling in mid-2024. When it rains, it pours.

So, what does this mean for the tech world? Well, if the outcome forces broader changes to Google’s Play Store policies and business model, we could be seeing a seismic shift in the app marketplace.

One thing’s for sure: this landmark case has set a precedent, and the ripple effects will be felt throughout the tech industry.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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