Oct 28, 2021: The Information’s Creator Economy Summit

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Google AR/VR

Google Pounces on Epic; Making Sense of Magic Leap’s Second Act

By  |  Oct. 12, 2021 11:05 AM PDT
Photo: Photo: AP

Google countersued Epic Games late Monday, opening another front in the legal battle between the Fortnite maker and the tech giants that control the mobile market. We know Epic’s attack on Apple mostly backfired, resulting in Epic frozen out of the iOS ecosystem for what could be years. Will Epic have any more luck in the Android market?

That seems unlikely. Epic’s lawsuit against Google last summer makes the same case as its case against Apple: that Google’s Play Store is fundamentally anticompetitive and, in hindering alternative distribution channels, works to harm users and developers. With its countersuit, Google is trying to paint Epic as cocky and opportunistic. Google, after all, allows developers more freedom than Apple does. On Google’s store, developers can steer users to payment links outside the app store. But Google and Apple have one thing in common: the 30% commission they charge developers on in-app purchases. 

Google’s legal strategy is similar to Apple’s, but it also has an ace up its sleeve: it can remind the court about Fortnite’s sorry, security-flawed debut on Android.

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