Epic Games advocates for Play Store overhaul post antitrust victory

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Epic wants the Play Store to be almost unrestricted

What’s the story

Epic Games, having recently triumphed in an antitrust lawsuit against Google, is now advocating for significant changes to the Play Store.

The lawsuit verdict, delivered in December 2023, found that Google had unlawfully monopolized app distribution and in-app billing on Android devices.

The jury also concluded that Google had engaged in anticompetitive measures, with certain device manufacturers and gaming companies.

Google will respond to the proposal by May 2, with a hearing scheduled for the injunction on May 23.

Epic Games proposes sweeping changes

Following its legal victory, Epic Games has proposed a permanent injunction against Google, stating its demands for comprehensive changes to the Play Store.

The injunction is based on three primary arguments. The Fortnite maker’s main assertion is that Google should allow users to download apps from any source without hindrance, including other app stores or directly from the web.

Challenges to Google’s app download restrictions

Epic Games is challenging Google’s restrictions on app downloads.

The gaming company wants to prevent Google from discouraging users from downloading apps from the web.

It also seeks to stop Google from collaborating with phone manufacturers and carriers to limit consumers’ app downloading options, advocating for a system similar to how apps can be downloaded onto a computer.

Epic also seeks to outlaw restrictions on pre-installed app stores. If approved, Android phones may come with an Epic Games Store app.

Changes to in-app purchase system demanded

Epic’s second argument in the injunction is that Google should allow users and developers the freedom to decide how they pay for in-app purchases — “free from anticompetitive fees and restrictions.”

This includes permitting developers to pack links from their apps to their websites, where they can offer discounts by bypassing Google’s cut of in-app payments facilitated via the Play Store.

Anti-retaliation measures

Epic also seeks protection against Google’s retaliation

The third argument of Epic’s proposed injunction aims to prevent Google from retaliating against it or other app or developer challenging app store practices.

According to Epic, “Google has a history of malicious compliance and has attempted to circumvent legislation and regulation meant to reign in their anti-competitive control over Android devices.”

“Our proposed injunction seeks to block Google from repeating past bad-faith tactics and open up Android devices to competition and choice for all developers and consumers,” it added.

Calls for separation of Google’s services

Epic’s injunction also demands that Google separate its products and services, like Android APIs, from the Play Store.

For six years, Epic wants Google to permit third-party app stores onto the Play Store without fees.

This would give them access to Play Store’s app library and allow them to handle updates for Play Store apps.

Epic is also urging Google to establish a compliance committee to make sure of adherence to the injunction.

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