A federal jury decided that Google’s Android app store benefits from anticompetitive barriers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal court jury has decided that Google’s Android app store is protected by anticompetitive barriers that hurt smartphone consumers and software developers, dealing a blow to a key pillar of its tech empire.

The unanimous ruling came Monday after just three hours of deliberations following a four-week trial revolving around a lucrative payment system within the Google Play Store. The Store is the main place where hundreds of millions of people around the world download and install applications that run on smartphones powered by Google’s Android software.

Epic Games, maker of the popular video game Fortnite, sued Google three years ago, alleging that the powerful internet company was abusing its power to shield its Play Store from competition in order to protect a multibillion-dollar gold mine. annually. Just as Apple does with its iPhone App Store, Google collects a 15% to 30% commission on digital transactions completed within apps.

apple He prevailed in a similar case filed by Epic against the iPhone App Store, but the 2021 trial was decided by a federal judge in a ruling that is on appeal at the US Supreme Court.

But the nine-person jury in the Play Store case seemed to see things through a different lens, even though Google technically allows Android apps to be downloaded from different stores — an option that Apple blocks on the iPhone.

Just before the Play Store trial began, Google sought to avoid having a jury determine the outcome, but US District Judge James Donato denied its request. Now it will be up to Donato to determine what steps Google will need to take to get rid of its illegal behavior in the Play Store. The judge indicated that he will hold hearings on this issue during the second week of January.

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Epic CEO Tim Sweeney smiled broadly after the ruling was read, slapped his lawyers on the back and also shook hands with Google’s lawyer, who thanked him for his professional attitude during the proceedings.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the result of the experiment.

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