SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, won a major US court battle against Google on Monday when a ju ry decided that the search engine giant wields illegal monopoly power through its Android app store.
Epic sued Google and Apple in 2020, accusing the tech titans of abusing control of their respective shops selling apps and other digital content on mobile devices.
Google and Apple t ake percentages of all financial transactions at their app shops, prompting complaints by developers about an unfair “tax” imposed by the companies.
The defeat is a rare setback for a US tech giant in a US court, where judges have recently ruled in favor of big tech aga inst accusations of running illegal monopolies or abusing their market power.
The San Francisco jury took just a few hours to decide against Google, finding that the company had embarked on various illegal strategies to maintain its app store monopoly on Android phones.
“Victory over Google! After four weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on X (formerly Twitter).
The case now goes back to the judge to decide how to remedy the harm found by the jury, which could force open the Android operating system to competing app stores.
Google said it would appeal th e decision and the case could still drag on for months or years.
“We will continue to defend the Android business model and remain deeply committed to our users, partners, and the broader Android ecosystem,” said Wilson White, Google’s vice president for government affairs & public policy.
Phones running on the Android operating system have about a 70 percent share of the world’s smartphone market.
Smartphone companies can install the Android app for free under the condition that the Play app store remains on the home page and that other Google offers are pre-installed.
During the trial it emerged that Google worked aggressively in other ways to make sure that the Google Play app store was the only conduit for making payments to third party apps such as Fortnite and other games.
A sizable chunk of app store revenue comes from video games and Epic Games has long sought to have payments for its mobile games, such as Fortnite, take place outside the Google or Apple app stores that take commissions as high as 30 percent.
Epic had mostly lost a similar case against Apple, where a US judge largely ruled in favor of the iPhone maker.
Apple and Google regularly argue that their app shop commissions are industry-standard, and that they pay for benefits such as reach, transaction security, and ferreting out malware.
Google also argued that the arrangement with smartphone makers helped Android-run devices better compete against Apple’s iPhone.
But the trial exposed that Google rakes in tens of billions of dollars of revenue through the app store.
In order to preserve its one-stop-shop for apps, Google paid smartphone makers a cut of its revenue in return for the Play store remaining the exclusive gateway.
In the trial, Epic’s lawyers described the strategy as “bribe and block.”
The arguments made by Epic echoed Google’s other landmark case in a federal court in Washington.
In that case, which will only be decided late next year, US Justice Department officials accuse the company of acting illegally to preserve the dominance of its world-leading search engine.
At the heart of the search case is Google’s massive revenue sharing deals in which Apple and other smartphone makers take a big cut of Google’s ad revenue.
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front killed nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists and wounded six others in a series of encounters in a barangay along the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta over the weekend.
Eight members of the MILF, an erstwhile secessionist guerilla front compelled to help the government address security issues in areas where it has forces by its peace pact with Malacañang, died in the gunfights.
As a diversionary ploy, Dawlah Islamiya members shot dead a brother of a barangay official in Dalgan in Pagalungan town in Maguindanao del Sur, a two-year-old child and three other villagers before they escaped using small river boats when they sensed that more MILF members were closing in.
Traditional Moro datus and local government executives in Pagalungan, among them Vice Mayor Abdillah Mamasabulod, on Monday confirmed to reporters and Bangsamoro regional police officials the skirmishes in Dalgan and nearby areas, a result of the MILF’s attack on local Dawlah Islamiya terrorists in support of efforts of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division to neutralize them.
Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of 6th ID, said on Monday that they have received reports about the MILF’s having neutralized nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists this weekend in maneuvers coordinated with the police and units of the 602nd Infantry Brigade covering Pagalungan and other towns around.
Mamasabulod, a senior member of the Pagalungan Municipal Peace and Order Council, said the MILF’s attacks on Dawlah Islamiya members was led by a member of the 80-seat Bangsamoro parliament, Akmad Abas, chief of the front’s Eastern Mindanao Group.
Abas and Mamasabulod, whose clan is supporting the police and military’s joint anti-terror campaign in their municipality, separately told reporters that eight MILF members were killed and five others were wounded in the clashes in Dalgan.
“We were to check their locations that the 6th ID first bombarded with 105 Howitzer cannons but they attacked us so there were subsequent firefights in the barangays near the Liguasan Marsh,” Abas said.
The local police, in a report on Monday to the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the Maguindanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, said there is difficulty in securing the complete names of the nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists killed by MILF forces since their cadavers were carried away by companions as they escaped towards the center of the Liguasan Delta.
Rillera and Bangsamoro regional police director Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza separately said they appreciate the support of Abas and his followers to the 6th ID and PRO-BAR’s joint effort to decimate via tactical maneuvers the Dawlah Islamiya forces holding out in Maguindanao del Sur towns along the Liguasan Delta.