It seems like Groundhog Day with all the lawsuits piling up against Google for anti-trust issues.
The latest pits Fortnite‘s studio Epic Games against Google related to the in-game payment processing on the Google Play platform.
This particular lawsuit has been years in the making and follows a lawsuit that Epic filed against Apple for similar reasons.
Epic’s beef with the big tech companies is based on how the game maker monetizes gameplay through the use of paid options within the game.
If the user is playing on an Apple iPhone or Google Android device, in-game charges are paid through the companies’ payment platforms. They also tack on an additional percentage for the transaction in what is called an “Apple tax” or “Google tax.”
Epic has its own payment processing platform, and in 2020 challenged the big tech firms by quietly releasing a new version of Fortnite that bypassed their transaction platforms.
This resulted in both Apple and Google kicking Fortnite off their game platforms, and Epic immediately filed an anti-trust lawsuit against each company.
The Apple lawsuit concluded in 2021 with Apple coming out almost completely on top.
The ruling found that Epic was in violation of Apple’s policies and ordered the company to pay the “Apple tax” for transactions that occurred on its platform.
That case is awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on whether it will hear the appeal.
In the meantime, the case with Google just got going after years of delays.
Most insiders feel that it will follow a similar path to the Apple case because it is hard to argue that Google or Apple maintains a monopoly on the market when they are competing against each other.
Still, it doesn’t leave much room for companies like Epic to compete in the “big leagues.”