In a significant legal setback for Google, the tech giant has faced defeat in an antitrust lawsuit filed by video game maker Epic Games in the United States.
The federal court in San Francisco reached a unanimous decision, asserting that Google wields monopoly power in the Android app distribution markets and in-app billing services, resulting in anti-competitive practices.
This development aligns with the broader global push for antitrust regulations targeting major tech corporations, including Google, Apple, and Meta.
Epic Games had previously encountered a similar challenge against Apple Inc's app store two years ago, leading to a partial loss.
Both Epic Games and Apple have subsequently appealed to the US Supreme Court to review their ongoing dispute.
However, the verdict carries implications for Google's legal battles in India as well, where the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had previously imposed a Rs 936 crore fine on Google in October 2022 for alleged abuse of dominance in the Play Store ecosystem.
Google had subsequently contested the CCI order in the National Company Law Tribunal and the Supreme Court, with the final hearing yet to be disclosed after the NCLAT deferred it from 28 November.
The CCI's order emphasised that tying access to the Play Store with mandatory usage of Google Play Billing System (GPBS) for paid apps and in-app purchases amounts to imposing unfair conditions on app developers.
Similarly, experts also anticipate that the recent decision by the San Francisco jury will strengthen the case against Google's appeal in Indian courts.
Amidst Google's heightened global scrutiny, the recent antitrust case is not only reshaping the regulatory landscape for major tech corporations worldwide but is also instilling optimism among Indian gaming and app developers.
The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) welcomed this significant development, stating in a release, “The recent resolution is a noteworthy development, as the Foundation has diligently worked to address the excessive commissions levied by Google for in-app purchases.”
The outcomes of these legal battles are poised to leave a lasting impact on the industry, influencing the future dynamics of major technology companies across the globe.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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