“Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
Taking a cue from its insanely popular “Fortnite” video game, Epic Games just returned from the brink of catastrophe, took on one of the final bosses of Big Tech, and won — for now.
Anyone remotely interested in mobile gaming has likely heard about Epic’s crusade against the two biggest smartphone storefronts: the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
In short: Epic alleged that Google and Apple were running illegal monopolies via their respective app stores, killing any prospective competition that may crop up.
Epic was also fuming that the companies took such massive cuts of its earnings through those app stores — a sizable loss of revenue given the popularity of “Fortnite.”
Interestingly enough, Epic lost its first battle against Apple, as documented by The Verge, roughly two years ago. (Apple lost that case too, but not nearly as badly as Epic.)
Fast forward to 2023, and many a legal pundit expected a similar outcome in Epic’s challenge against Google.
But as in any great battle royale, the best victories are the ones you snatch from the jaws of defeat — and that’s exactly what appears to have happened here.
According to a Monday report from The Verge, a jury has found that “Google turned its Google Play app store and Google Play Billing service into an illegal monopoly.”
One analyst, Paul Gallant, told Yahoo Finance that the decision was “unexpected,” but he thinks the fact that this was a jury trial and not a judge’s decision paid off for Epic (the Apple case was a judge’s decision).
However, as both Gallant and The Verge noted, Google plans on appealing the decision, so don’t expect any imminent changes.
Despite that murky future, Epic is taking a victory lap.
“Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world,” Epic said in a Monday blog post. “It proves that Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation.
“Over the course of the trial we saw evidence that Google was willing to pay billions of dollars to stifle alternative app stores by paying developers to abandon their own store efforts and direct distribution plans, and offering highly lucrative agreements with device manufacturers in exchange for excluding competing app stores.”
Epic added a jab at Google, accusing the tech titan of being less than forthcoming in the legal proceedings.
“This is, of course, what we know,” Epic said. “From the CEO down, Google employees willfully re-directed sensitive conversations to chat, knowing that their contents would be deleted forever.
“The evidence presented in this case demonstrates the urgent need for legislation and regulations that address Apple and Google strangleholds over smartphones.”
Yes, at the end of the day, this case is about a multibillion-dollar company (Epic) taking on a trillion-dollar company (Google) over matters of profit — something most Americans cannot relate to on any level.
But it also represents the growing tide against “the way things are.”
In the past, perhaps Google and Epic would have come to a hefty settlement and the world collectively moved on. Google is, quite literally, a monolith so embedded in the culture that it operates as a noun, proper noun and verb.
But now? With the tech overlords at Google (overlords who may need to retain better lawyers) eating an actual loss in court, perhaps it’s time for everyday Americans to take a page out of the playbook of Epic Games:
Fight, fight, and when you lose, fight some more. You just might get that W yet.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.