The first day of the Epic Games vs. Google antitrust trial ended after both sides gave opening statements and two witnesses testified, VentureBeat reported.
According to VentureBeat, Epic’s lead attorney Gary Bornstein opened with a chart that showed the Google Play Store accounted for 90% of app installs in the year the lawsuit was filed, 2020, despite the fact that Google “will say” that the Samsung app store is installed on 60% of all Android smartphones. But Bornstein noted that a tiny sliver of the market share belongs to Samsung.
Bornstein argued that Google pays actual potential competitors not to compete and gives them money and other things of value. Bornstein says this is anti-competitive.
Epic also said it knows that Google will argue that it allows “sideloading” of apps as an alternative to using the Google Play Store. But Epic Games said Google through hoops in the way of users who were considering sideloading. Epic said that Google’s 30% fee for its app store operating profit amount to $12 billion a year and carry a 70% margin, compared to 24% in 2014.
Bornstein said that Google’s codename for shady deals was Project Hug, where Google allegedly paid developers such as Riot Games not to compete with the Google Play Store.
Bornstein also said that because many of Google’s alleged anticompetitive acts started in 2019, Google didn’t need those things to protect its fledgling app store. Rather, it merely intended to protect its monopoly. He also said that Google doesn’t have a monopoly on making app downloading secure, and that side-loaded apps didn’t represent a real security threat.
CNBC reported that Google is headed back to court for its second antitrust trial in two months, this time in defense of its Android Play Store.
According to CNBC, while Google continues to argue against monopoly claims brought by the Department of Justice and a bipartisan group of states in Washington, D.C., District Court, the company now has to simultaneously face off against Epic Games in a federal court in San Francisco.
The trial involving Epic, which began Monday, revolted around Google’s treatment of third-party developers, and will be closely watched by Apple, which operates the rival iPhone App Store. Both companies have been accused by developers of taking an unfair cut of revenue from in-app payments and for making it harder for app creators to communicate with their customers.
An Epic victory could force Google to make changes to Android, where it charges a 15% to 30% fee on digital goods and services purchases within the apps. It could allow Epic to get its store pre-installed on devices, potentially making it easier for users to bypass Google’s store to download games.
CNBC reported that at issue with the DOJ’s monopoly case, which went to trial in September, is whether Google violated the law through exclusive agreements with mobile phone manufacturers and browser makers to make its search engine the default for consumers. That case could determine whether Google is able to continue using its heft to keep its prime positioning on smartphones.
It seems to me that the Epic vs Google case is one that seems to keep ending up in courtroom battles. Eventually, we will know the outcome of this particular case. But that might not be the end of this battle.