A San Francisco jury recently decided that some of Google’s Play Store policies gave them too much control over app developers. After a lawsuit from gaming company Epic Games, the jurors agreed 9-3 that parts of the Google Play Store setup made for unfair competition.
While the suit wasn’t about money, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney estimated the fees cost them hundreds of millions in revenue. Now Google says they plan to appeal the decision, but will also take the jury’s concerns seriously.
The lawsuit focused specifically on Google’s rules requiring apps to use their payment system for in-app purchases. Epic tried to get around those rules in their popular Fortnite game and got kicked out of the Play Store. The jury ultimately decided that policy went too far.
However, they rejected Epic’s claim that Google illegally monopolizes Android app distribution. The jurors recognized that, unlike Apple, Android users can install apps in other ways. Still, the Play Store’s dominance was seen as stifling competition.
In a statement, Google said Android offers developers and consumers way more options than Apple or other platforms. They also aim to keep helping partners succeed while “defending the Android business model.”
While the legal battle isn’t completely over, the verdict signals winds of change. Developers are hopeful that Google will relax certain Play Store barriers, while keeping the marketplace safe and reliable. More billing choices could also let app creators keep more hard-earned revenue.
As for Epic Games, they called the outcome “a win for all app developers and consumers worldwide.” After all, more leeway and innovation on Android can translate into better and more unique user experiences.
Google knows that staying competitive means continually upgrading their offerings to developers. And occasionally, nudges like a lawsuit help guide policies in a fairer direction for all. With some adjustments to Play Store rules on the horizon, there is a lot to be optimistic about.
The morale is that healthy competition benefits creators and consumers alike. And there will always be chances for progress, as long as that innovative spirit stays strong.