Google’s partial motion for summary judgment highlights the company’s assertion that its business model with the app store is different from those of its competitors, and that any anti-competitive effects from its agreements with Epic Games, Match Group, and state Attorneys General cannot be proven. If granted by the court, this motion would allow Google to continue operating its app store without facing any antitrust allegations.
According to Google, the court should now have enough information on hand to make determinations on a handful of plaintiffs’ claims before the case goes to trial. The company says that these items are not in violation of antitrust law, meaning that the trial would still move forward as other claims would need to be argued in court.
The five claims which Google specifically wants the court’s judgment on are as follows:
1. That Google manipulated search result rankings in order to benefit its own Search Plus Your World product; and
2. That this constituted anticompetitive behavior, as it gave an unfair advantage to Google’s own services over those of its competitors;
3. That by doing so, Google placed an unreasonable burden on smaller websites and competition in the online advertising market;
4. That by controlling what searches results users could access, through its use of SERP Autocom
Although Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement prohibits the distribution of other app stores, most Android devices come preloaded with more than one app store. In addition, consumers can install additional app stores from the web browser. This counterargument suggests that Google’s contract is not actually preventing the distribution of competing apps stores – it simply allows them to be accessed on a consumer’s device in a more inconvenient way.
Google Play is one of the most popular app stores on Android and it provides users with a great variety of apps. However, some companies, such as Match Group and Epic, have created their own app stores instead of using Google Play. These app stores often have lower ratings than Google Play and their content is not as available. The Attorneys General are trying to sue Google for allowing multiple app stores on Android, but they seem to be neglecting the numerous benefits that this option provides.
Both the plaintiffs and Google argue that neither party benefited from the exclusivity arrangement. Epic Games claims it made very little money from Fortnite on Android because of how much competition it faced, while Google lost out on potential revenue because Fortnite was only available through its installer. This case may hinge on whether or not Epic Games can demonstrate that Google’s motive in agreeing to an exclusivity deal was any other than economic self-interest.
Google has always been interested in winning over developers and keeping their games on the Play Store, but earlier filings had stated that their program was relatively unsuccessful. However, recent reports have suggested that Google’s forging deals with a number of developers, including Activision Blizzard, has been successful. This suggests that the company is still interested in ensuring a strong relationship with game developers and gaining their approval for the Play Store – even if it doesn’t always work out perfectly from everyone’s perspective.
Google argues that Hug was not an anticompetitive move, but has been mischaracterized by the plaintiffs. The program offered developers benefits and early access to Google Play users when developers released new or updated content, but did not prevent developers from creating competing app stores.
Google’s pushback against claims over revenue-sharing agreements with wireless carriers indicates that the company may be confident that the agreements are outside of the statute of limitations. The agreements have been expired for more than four years, so Google may be able to dismiss the claims without repercussion.
Google believes that consumers who have been overcharged by the company should not be able to recover any of the alleged overcharges, as competition between Google and other app developers is healthy.
When Google Play was first introduced, it consisted of a selection of free apps and in-app purchases that allowed users to purchase additional content or features. However, over time, the Store has shifted away from being purely free and paid app-based and towards requiring users to pay for premium features in order to remain competitive. Critics argue that this bundling of different services is unfair because it requires people who want access to certain apps or games within Google Play to also purchase other unrelated products. While some developers make extra money through in-app purchases, many do not see a significant uptick in revenue due to the increasing number of premium subscription models available on the market today.
Google’s failure to preserve some of its messages for discovery could impact its antitrust defenses. The DoJ recently cited the same issue in its own antitrust investigation. If a full trial is required, Google may have to provide additional evidence that it did not intentionally destroy information related to the case. This would likely increase legal costs and delay proceedings.
Google asked the court to delay the trial until after the company’s annual shareholders meeting, but was denied. The shareholder meeting is on May 28th, so it is likely that Google will have more information at that time about how their advertising campaign impacted real world results
Epic Games has always been known for their massive and stunningly detailed games, exemplified by such classics as Gears of War, Fortnite, and Unreal Tournament. As developers become more experienced and skilled with 3D modeling software, Epic Games is releasing increasingly ambitious titles that rely on high-quality visuals