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Epic Games takes legal battle against Google to Australia

Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney alleged Google’s dominance deters users from downloading apps from the third-party websites.

Epic Games takes on Google, Apple
Epic Games takes on Google, Apple (REUTERS)

Epic Games is now expanding its legal battle against the app store operators. The Fortnite maker has now filed a lawsuit in Australia alleging Google’s “anti-competitive conduct” breaches the local consumer law, reports TheVerge. The company has also accused Google of breaching Australia’s Competition and Consumer Act of 2010.

“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 said in a post titled “Australia Free Fortnite”.

Epic Games pointed out that Google’s Android has about 20 million smartphones in Australia, and 90% of the apps on those phones are downloaded via the Google Play Store.

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“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,” Sweeny added in the post.

The latest legal battle follows Epic Games’ similar efforts against Apple in Australia. The company had moved the court in November last year. It is worth noting that Epic Games is locked in similar legal battles in the UK, the US, and the European Union.

Epic Games’ contention with mobile app store operators is the controversial 30% tax on in-app purchases. Google and Apple both levy the cut though many app developers have criticised the move. In India as well, several companies have raised concerns about such app store policies. Google had deferred its Play Store billing policy in India to March 2022. Apple, in the meanwhile, has introduced an App Store Small Business Programme with a reduced commission.

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