Epic Games, the maker of the popular game "Fortnite," has launched a battle against Google in federal court in a closely watched antitrust showdown that could reshape how smartphone users get Android apps and pay for in-app content. From a report: Epic's lawsuit in the US District Court in California's Northern District targets the Google Play Store, focusing on Google's fees for in-app subscriptions and one-off transactions, along with other terms that app developers such as Epic say helped Google maintain an illegal monopoly in app distribution.
The legal battle follows a years-long debate about whether app store operators such as Google and Apple foster an open, competitive app ecosystem. The two companies argue their app stores help unlock billions in revenue for small businesses, while ensuring that Android and iOS users benefit from security oversight that the technology giants provide. The jury may hear high-profile witnesses testify from both sides, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.
The court fight traces back to 2020, when Epic launched Project Liberty, a plan to circumvent Apple and Google's app store terms. That move by Epic forced a confrontation with the tech giants. Epic updated the Fortnite app to encourage players to pay for in-app content directly through Epic's own website -- rather than through Apple and Google's in-app payment systems. That gambit triggered a violation of the app stores' developer terms. The move also...
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