As Epic Games legal saga continues, the developer has now changed its line of argument against Google and Apple. Since Epic is fighting both companies on the same issue for the same benefits, the developer is attacking both of them together. In a new filing, viewed by More, Epic Games has accused Google and Apple of running a duopoly over the entire mobile market.
The long and inter-continental string of lawsuits began in August 2020, when Epic Games pushed an unauthorized update on its popular streaming game ‘Fortnite’. As the update allowed users to bypass, App Store’s and Google Play’s in-app purchase structure and make direct payments, Google and Apple removed the gamed from their app stores. Since then, the developer has filed antitrust cases against both tech giants in the United States, UK, Australia, and EU.
Epic wants the courts to grant permission to offer its own Fortnite multiverse app store on iOS and Android devices which will offer other games, events, socializing opportunities, and more within its game.
Epic Games accuses Google of not incentivizing Android because of a lucrative search agreement with Apple
Epic Games’ amended suit levis new allegations that Google has an anti-competitive agreement with Apple under which the search engine giant pays Apple to make Google the default search engine on iOS Safari browser.
Moreover, the close relationship that Google maintains with Apple further reduces Google’s incentive to compete, innovate, and invest in app distribution because Google benefits by cooperating with its “competitor” Apple.
For example, for over 15 years, Google has maintained an agreement with Apple whereby Google pays Apple a significant percentage of revenue derived from searches run on iOS devices—an estimated $8-12 billion per year in recent years, according to the U.S. Department of Justice—in exchange for Apple making Google Search the default search engine on the Safari browser.
In a statement to iMore, Google said:
“The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. We will continue to defend ourselves against these meritless claims.”
Epic vs. Apple case in the United States is waiting for the judge’s verdict. The Cupertino tech giant calls the developer’s claims self-serving. Apple strongly opposes Epic’s request to allow sideloading on iOS over security issues. iPhone maker argues that sideloading will remove company place security barriers and will drastically impact users’ privacy and security by making them vulnerable to attacks.
A recent revealing report by Amnesty International listed how private spyware ‘Pegasus’ was used to hack iOS and Android devices to facilitate attacks by authoritarian governments on dissent. So, allowing free access to mobile operating systems is likely to further escalate such attacks and expand their scope to a majority of users.