Google says Epic’s Play Store demands are too much and too self-serving

Google says Epic’s Play Store demands are too much and too self-serving

Epic Games won its antitrust lawsuit against Google in December when a federal jury found that the latter violated US antitrust laws with regards to how it runs the Play Store. A few months later, the gaming developer submitted its list of demands, which if implemented will blow the Play Store wide open. Now, Google has filed an injunction telling the court that no, it will not give Epic what it wants without a fight, because the company’s asks “stray far beyond the trial record.”

The remedies Epic had submitted would require the court not just to create a global regulatory regime to set prices for apps, Google wrote in the filing as seen by Engadget, but also to micromanage “a highly complex and dynamic ecosystem” used by billions of consumers and app developers around the world. If you’ll recall, Epic wants Google to open up Android to third-party app stores and to make its catalog of apps available to those stores. It also wants restrictions on pre-installed apps to be outlawed and to prohibit any Google activity that incentivizes third-parties.

Google said that bowing down to all those demands would “effectively prevent [it] from competing,” which in turn would negatively affect Android users and developers. Epic’s proposals only benefit Epic, Google said in its filing, and will harm other developers by depriving them of control over where their app is distributed. Manufacturers will no longer be able to take advantage of the partnerships Google typically offers, while users have to deal with additional security and privacy risks.

The company also slammed Epic over the “vagueness” of its proposed injunction, which would require the repeated and ongoing intervention of the courts. Similarly, Epic’s demands would apparently require the court to micromanage Google’s business.

“Epic’s demands would harm the privacy, security, and overall experience of consumers, developers, and device manufacturers,” Wilson White, Google’s Vice President of Government Affairs & Public Policy, told Engadget in a statement. “Not only does their proposal go far beyond the scope of the recent US trial verdict — which we will be challenging — it’s also unnecessary due to the settlement we reached last year with State Attorneys General from every state and multiple territories. We will continue to vigorously defend our right to a sustainable business model that enables us to keep people safe, partner with developers to innovate and grow their businesses, and maintain a thriving Android ecosystem for everyone.”

Google said that if Epic truly wants to promote competition rather than create “an unfair, court- supervised advantage for itself,” then it would take cues from its settlement with the state officials that previously accused the company of abusing its dominance on Android app distribution. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was, unsurprisingly, unhappy with that settlement, tweeting at the time: “If Google is ending its payments monopoly without imposing a Google Tax on third party transactions, we’ll settle and be Google’s friend in their new era. But if the settlement merely pays off the other plaintiffs while leaving the Google Tax in place, we’ll fight on. Consumers only benefit if antitrust enforcement not only opens up markets, but also restores price competition.”

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