The judge won’t reverse Google’s Play Store Antitrust ruling

Google Logo Red

Amid all of its AI drama, Google has also been dealing with another issue. It’s been wrapped in a legal battle with Epic Games over how it operates the Google Play Store. At the end of the day, the court ruled in favor of Epic Games, and Google tried its hardest to reverse the ruling. Well, according to a new report, the judge refused to reverse Google’s antitrust ruling.

To catch you up

Here’s a recap of the drama. Epic Games has been on the warpath over the past couple of years. Back in 2020, the company filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the company operates an illegal monopoly over the iOS/iPadOS app market. That fire eventually made it over to Google, as Epic sued Google for the same thing.

Epic (and pretty much any developer) doesn’t like the fact that the company taxes developers a 30% fee on all in-app purchases. This is the same thing that Apple does with its payment system. What makes things worse is the fact that Google forced all Android app developers to use Google’s payment system last year. This means that Android apps can’t reach out to third-party payment systems; developers are forced to give up 30% of their income.

Just like Apple and the App Store, the majority of people get their apps from Google’s own app store. What makes these companies different is the fact that Google has allowed people to side-load their apps either through third-party app stores or through direct APK installs. The issue with this is the fact that Google has been posting alarming notifications warning people that side-loading apps could put their phones at risk. It shows these notifications even if the app is safe.

These reasons are why Epic has been targeting these companies. It wants to bring sweeping change to the mobile app market as a whole.

The ruling

In a surprising turn of events, the court ruled in favor of Apple in its case, but it didn’t in Google’s case. Bear in mind that these rulings came from different judges. As part of the ruling, Google will need to make some major changes to how it operates the Play Store. For starters, the company will need to stop posting the “Scare Screens” when people try to side-load an app. Also, it will need to allow developers to use the payment system of their choice. This would give users the ability to avoid the ridiculous fees. Google has pushed back against these demands, but its complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

The court won’t reverse Google’s antitrust ruling

As it stands, the Google Play Store was deemed an illegal monopoly, so changes will need to be made. Right now, we don’t know when these changes will come. What we know is that Google wants them to never happen. The company has been trying its hardest to reverse the ruling. According to the report, U.S. District Court Judge James Donato has thrown out Google’s bid to reverse the ruling. The company “did not present good grounds for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial,” the judge stated in a 28-page ruling.

As part of the argument, Google referred to the different ruling that Apple had gotten for basically the same thing. While Google needs to make sweeping changes, Apple was able to get off Scott-free. “Google took every opportunity to tell the jury that Google and Apple compete, and so should be considered to be in the same relevant market.” This is true, as both companies were responsible for shady practices, and they both have equal sway over their respective markets. However, Donato wrote that Epic presented substantial evidence “showing that the Android-only product markets made factual and economic sense for this case.”

Google also argued against the scare screens

The company also spent time arguing about the ruling that the scare screens were anticompetitive. The ruling was delivered by the judge himself, but Google argued that a jury would not have agreed about the anticompetitive nature of the side-loading warnings. Just like everything else in this case, Google’s claim was rejected.

Google says that this is a safety measure, and that’s not wrong. When side-loading an app, you run the risk of installing malware onto your system. Sure, you run the risk of doing that on the Play Store, but the risk is higher off of the Play Store. The issue is that Google’s tactic is to scare people away from side-loading apps altogether. It doesn’t matter if the app is safe, you’ll still get the warning.

Epic wants Google to make side-loading apps a single-tap experience without any additional screens. It also wants to keep Google from blocking pre-installed apps on phones. However, we’re sure that the last part depends more on the device manufacturers rather than Google as a company.

Is this right?

So, Google threw a tantrum and didn’t get any results. The changes that Epic proposed can help Android app developers by offering them more choice with payment systems. They’re able to avoid the steep 30% Play Store fee. Also, people won’t be deterred from side-loading apps onto their phones. That’s a bit subjective, as you do run into some risk when doing so.

Those are good things, but the real issue comes with the fact that Apple and Google received different rulings. While Apple is dealing with its own changes, the court ruled in favor of the Cupertino company. Both Google and Apple have their app markets by the throats, and they’re doing everything they can to squeeze every dime out of their developers and users. Developers have to give up a lot of their income to both companies and they both squash freedom.

So, why is it that one company has to get off easy? When presented with the evidence that both companies are pulling the same moves, Judge Donato simply dismissed the claims. In all fairness, both Google and Apple are villains in this story, so both of them should be equally punished.

The post The judge won’t reverse Google’s Play Store Antitrust ruling appeared first on Android Headlines.