Google wants to move quickly to settle its antitrust lawsuit against Fortnite developer Epic Games, matchmaking service Match Group, and several state attorneys general. In a recent filing, Google’s legal team has asked the court to partially grant its motion for summary judgment to have some of the plaintiffs’ claims on the structure of Google’s app store business, revenue-sharing agreements, and other app store-related initiatives dismissed.
Google argues the court now has enough evidence to rule on a subset of the plaintiffs’ allegations, claiming that its actions do not violate antitrust law before the matter gets to trial. Even if the court rules in Google’s favour, the trial would continue because of the other accusations.
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What Does Google Want Exactly?
Google requests a ruling on five particular allegations that appear crucial to the plaintiffs’ case for anticompetitive activity.
It asks the court to rule that Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement is invalid since it restricts access to other app shops. Google rebuts this by arguing that it is not required by law to distribute to other app shops and pointing out that most Android devices already have more than one app store installed. It also highlights that users may access and install supplementary app stores directly from their browsers.
For mobile devices, “Android is the only major mobile platform that allows multiple app stores,” according to a Google spokeswoman. Users of Android smartphones may download other app stores in addition to the two that come standard. They said, “We look forward to proving our case in court, while Epic, Match Group, and the state Attorneys General reject the openness and choice Android and Google Play provide.
The Connection To Google’s Project Hug
The connection is also being made to “Project Hug,” a Google initiative encouraging Android game creators to retain their games on the Google Play Store. According to the lawsuit, Google allegedly bribed game creators millions of dollars via a scheme dubbed the “Apps and Games Velocity Program.”
After Epic Games’ exclusive release of Fortnite for Android outside of the Play Store using its installer, Google allegedly created the program out of fear that other developers might follow its pattern. Google feared Epic would cut its income share with other OEMs by signing exclusive pre-install partnerships with companies like Samsung.
Google agreed with several creators, including Activision Blizzard, to keep their games on the Play Store; thus, the initiative has been successful overall, as shown by the company’s previous disclosures.
Google, however, maintains that the plaintiffs have mischaracterized Project Hug as an anti-competitive initiative. It claims the initiative did not preclude developers from building alternative app stores. It gave them incentives and early access to Google Play customers when they launched new or updated content.
Google Vs The Telecom Industry
The corporation is also contesting accusations about revenue-sharing agreements with cellphone carriers, arguing that the period has long passed. Google argues that the agreements should be nullified since they are over four years old.
Google also maintains that the state attorneys general and the consumer class failed to prove that the company’s sale of app subscriptions and in-app purchases hurt competition. According to Google, users cannot seek reimbursement for the claimed overcharges.
The fourth claim involves tying, or the argument that a customer had to purchase one product in addition to other unrelated goods. The plaintiffs claimed an unlawful relationship between Google Play and Google Play’s billing services; however, Google strongly refutes this. Instead, it claims that Play’s billing services are separate from a distinct offering. It’s also said that more than 90% of Google Play’s applications are free, with no financial cost to the creators.
Google Pays Up For Deleting MoM
After a judge ruled last month that Google must pay penalties for losing certain texts, it should have preserved for discovery; the company is now trying to issue a partial summary judgment against it. The plaintiffs proved that Google workers routinely disabled chat history during internal meetings to delete potentially incriminating information. The Department of Justice has mentioned this same problem in its antitrust probe. As a first step, the court has given the plaintiffs’ attorneys until April 21 to submit a request for legal expenses as part of the punishment.
Google has previously requested a postponement of the trial but was rejected.
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Feature Image Source: Image by Google