- Google faces antitrust challenges relating to their Play store and advertising technology practices.
- A jury found that Google’s strict controls on its Play store were an illegal monopoly.
- U.S. District Judge James Donato will hear arguments in January on Epic’s request for a court order to change how Google operates the Play store.
- The verdict in Epic’s case could encourage other potential plaintiffs like businesses and app developers to launch a class action lawsuit.
Google’s Antitrust Conundrums
We delve into what’s upcoming in this case, along with other significant antitrust problems Google is facing.
After a mere three hours of deliberation, the jury determined that Google’s stringent control over its Play store constituted an unfair monopoly on app distribution to Android users and app payment processing. Epic refrained from seeking monetary compensation from the court.
Google’s Evidence Deletion
Earlier, a judge decided that Google incorrectly eradicated internal online “chat” logs pertinent to Epic’s assertions. The jury was informed that the evidence would have cast Google in a negative light.
In January, U.S. District Judge James Donato is set to listen to opposing arguments on Epic’s plea for a court decree to reform Google’s Play store operations. Google might contest that any changes Epic suggests are too excessive.
Google to Contest Verdict
Google announced it will challenge the jury’s decision, and also possibly appeal Donato’s eventual ruling on Epic’s proposed solutions. This could instigate additional years of litigation.
Epic’s Battle Against Apple
Google’s protest will reach the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously presided over Epic’s 2020 antitrust case against Apple (NASDAQ:) regarding its App Store regulations.
Outcome of Epic vs. Apple
In April, the appeals court primarily ruled in favor of Apple, confirming a 2021 verdict by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (NYSE:) that Apple’s application regulations did not contravene antitrust legislation.
Difference in the Two Cases
Legal experts emphasized that the case specifics were unique. They suggested a crucial distinction was that the case against Apple was directly adjudicated by the judge, absent a jury.
Epic’s attempt to resurrect the Apple case is currently awaiting judgement at the U.S. Supreme Court. Apple has also appealed a portion of the court order requiring adjustments to its App Store.
Google’s Ongoing Antitrust Legal Battles
Google is also entangled in multiple private civil antitrust lawsuits from U.S. advertisers and publishers, along with U.S. government allegations implicating its search and advertising technology practices.
In Europe, Google strives to repeal a $2.6 billion antitrust penalty levied by the top court for purported market abuses related to its shopping service.
Implications of the Verdict
Though the verdict in Epic Games’ lawsuit does not directly impact Google’s other ongoing cases, it may stimulate other potential claimants such as businesses and app creators to unite for class action litigation, according to antitrust attorneys.
Google is expected to face a jury trial in Virginia next year over a case initiated by the U.S. Justice Department and a collection of states regarding its digital advertising dominance. Google has refuted any indiscretions.
The financial impact of these antitrust cases against Google could potentially affect stock value and investor confidence, influencing trading decisions for those dealing in tech sector forex assets.