Google losing the antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games concerning the Play Store will have far-reaching implications for the mobile app economy.
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In the jury’s view, Epic showed a “preponderance of evidence [that] Google willfully acquired or maintained monopoly power by engaging in anticompetitive conduct” regarding both the Android app distribution market and Android in-app billing services for digital goods and services transactions in worldwide markets, exclusive of China.
The verdict comes after Epic lost a similar suit with Apple, which it is appealing. Google also intends to contest its verdict.
Why did Google lose when Apple won? And what does the ruling mean for the app economy? Let’s explore.
A difference in openness
Turning the clock back, the differences between Epic’s case against Apple and Google were clear to some. In a reasonable victory lap, technology and markets analyst Ben Thompson reminded folks that he pointed out the critical difference between the two cases years ago. In his view, Apple offered a fully closed ecosystem, while Google proffered its own with a veneer of openness, belied by the company’s deals with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who built the hardware that its mobile operating system ran on, making the twin suits far from identical.