Published on March 10th, 2021 | by Adrian Gunning
Epic Games commences legal proceedings against Google in Australia over anti-competitive conduct
Today Epic Games announced that it has filed a legal claim against Google with the Federal Court of Australia, continuing its pursuit for fairer digital platforms globally. Epic has already filed a claim with the Court against Apple on similar grounds.
In the claim Epic alleges that Google’s anti-competitive conduct breaches the Australian Consumer Law as well as various sections of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). The company states that Google abuses its control over the Android operating system (“Android OS”), restricting competition in payment processing and app distribution on the Google Play Store. This harmful conduct stifles innovation, reduces consumer choice and inflates prices.
For apps obtained through the Google Play Store developers are forced to use Google’s in-app payment services that take a 30% commission. Google also makes it egregiously difficult to download apps directly onto Android devices, forcing the vast majority of users to obtain apps through the Google Play Store. In fact, in Australia, almost half of the approximately 20 million smartphones across the country run on Google’s Android OS, and 90% of apps on an Android mobile are typically obtained via the Google Play Store.
“Google gives the illusion of being open by making arguments about the presence of alternative app stores on its platform or allowing direct downloading of apps from third party providers, but in reality these situations are so rare that they barely make a dent in the monopoly of the Android OS”, said Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.
“The barriers Google places on Android OS are real. In the case of direct downloading, it makes the process so difficult and scary that it deters users from downloading apps from third party-websites even though it is a totally normal way for users to get apps on a desktop. It’s actions like this that illustrate Google is more interested in feigning openness than delivering choice to consumers. We believe consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace.”
This claim complements legal proceedings already underway in the US and UK, as well as an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union. Epic is not seeking damages from Google or Apple, it is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit consumers and developers.
In addition to Epic’s claims in Australia against Apple and Google, the company is also participating in the Australian competition regulator’s review of mobile app marketplaces.
More information is available on Epic’s public FAQ.