Fortnite’s Epic Games wins US court fight with Google

MANILA, Philippines — Qualified government employees will get a one-time service recognition incentive up to P20,000 while non-regular workers will get a gratuity pay, according to newly issued administrative orders by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In Administrative Order 12, an SRI of up to P20,000 will be given to employees working in the executive department. This includes civilian personnel of national government agencies, including those in state universities and colleges, government-owned or -controlled corporations occupying regular, contractual or casual positions.

SRI beneficiaries also include personnel of the Bureau of Corrections, Philippine Coast Guard, military and police personnel and fire and jail personnel under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Empl oyees and staff of Congress, the judiciary, the Office of the Ombudsman and Constitutional offices may also be granted a one-time SRI by their respective heads of offices at a maximum of P20,000. 

The order mandates the payment of the SRI not earlier than December 15.

Meanwhile, Marcos has also approved the provision of a one-time gratuity pay of not more than P5,000 each for Contract of Service and Job Order employees.

To qualify for the gratuity pay, employees must have already rendered at least four months of “actual satisfactory performance of service,” according to Administrative Order 13.

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, won a major US court battle against Google on Monday when a jury 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 take percentages of all financia l transactions at their app shops, prompting complaints by developers about an unfair “tax” imposed by the companies.

The defeat is a rare se tback for a US tech giant in a US court, where judges have recently ruled in favor of big tech against 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 the 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.

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