The curious case of Epic Games: how the developer beat Google but not Apple

  • December 16, 2023
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The Fortnite maker filed antitrust suits against both tech companies – while one emerged victorious, the other was found at fault on 11 claims

Late Monday afternoon, nine jurors huddled together in a San Francisco federal court tasked with deciding the fate of Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against Google. They emerged with a bomb likely to keep the tech world’s ears ringing for years to come. After just three hours of deliberation, the jury shocked observers and legal experts by siding with the Fortnite maker, which had accused the tech giant of maintaining an illegal monopoly in the Android app market. Jurors found Google at fault for all 11 antitrust claims brought by Epic.

The verdict surprised many observers because Epic had lost a very similar battle with Apple two years ago. The gaming company alleged the iPhone maker also operated an illegal monopoly via the App Store; a judge ruled against Epic in September 2021. Both cases highlighted app developers’ longstanding resentment of Google and Apple’s in-app purchasing fees, which can top out at 30%. Epic had tried to implement a payment system within Fortnite in 2020 that would have bypassed Google and Apple. Both companies briefly banned Fortnite from their app stores in response. Then Epic sued.

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