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Epic vs Google antitrust trial begins today

Fortnite firm continues crusade against 30% cut and anti-steering practices despite struggles in case against Apple

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The jury trial between Epic Games and Google over antitrust claims about the latter's payments system and rules will begin later today.

The dispute began in 2020 when Epic introduced a hotfix to Fortnite that directed players to buy virtual currency V-Bucks directly, avoiding the 30% cut Google takes through its handling of all in-game transactions.

Google removed Fortnite from the Google Play store, to which Epic swiftly responded with an antitrust lawsuit. Google later countersued Epic for breach of contract.

Epic's arguments are that Google's requirement for developers to use the Play store's payment system for all transactions is anti-competitive and that, while Android users can install apps without using Google's marketplace (unlike Apple's iOS), Google Play is so dominant that it is not financially viable or profitable to do so.

The jury trial finally begins today, Seeking Alpha reports, with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney expected to testify.

Google's VP of government affairs and public policy told Seeking Alpha: "[Epic's] claims are baseless. Android enables developers to distribute through multiple app stores or directly to users through the web."

Epic has been fighting a similar battle again Apple, with the added arguments that the closed iOS ecosystem means developers are unable to distribute apps to iPhones and iPads without going directly through the App Store.

However, in the 2021 antitrust trial between Epic and Apple, the judge ruled in Apple's favour on nine of out ten counts. Epic's only victory was a ruling that Apple should cease its anti-steering policies and allow developers to provide users with links to where they may make direct purchases.

Both Epic and Apple continue to appeal against the judge's ruling, with the matter now being put to the Supreme Court, so no changes have yet been made to iOS or its payment system.

Google has previously asked the courts not to connect its own dispute against Epic with the Apple case.

Epic Games is also taking legal action against Google in the UK and Australia.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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