This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
While the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite is getting a lot of attention, Google, which has been sued at the same time, feels like it's laying low. Both are supposed to be fighting the removal of the game from the app store for violating guidelines on in-app purchases, but there is a clear temperature difference between the two sides.
It has been revealed that Google has petitioned the court in this case that the two lawsuits "should not be related". In other words, it is poised to distance itself from the Epic vs. Apple dispute.
In its petition, Google argued that there is no "substantial" equivalence between the parties to the two lawsuits. While the terms of the deal and the key facts are different, the most emphasized difference is the way the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store.
Google says, "While Apple's iOS allows the distribution of apps only through Apple's proprietary app store, Android devices, in contrast, can have multiple app stores simultaneously pre-installed or downloaded and allow for end users to side load apps via the Internet." In other words, the main argument is that app developers have the option of distributing the app in multiple app stores or directly from their own website.
Naturally, Apple and Google each have their own separate and unique negotiations and contracts with app developers and original equipment manufacturers. According to Google, "These fundamental differences in the way Apple and Google support app distribution create key distinctions in the claims and defenses in the iOS/Apple Cases and Android/Google Cases."
In other words, in Google's view, even if the case were to proceed against Apple, it would not be appropriate to use it as leverage in Epic vs. Google as the store is separate.
It's true that Google is doing everything it can to differentiate itself from Apple and help Android thrive, and the two platforms have different approaches. But Epic still claims Google employs "anti-competitive" Android policies that stifle meaningful competition.
For example, Google allows third-party app stores, but Epic says that after 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, they realized that "Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage".
Specifically, "[Google uses] technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play Store,” Epic claims.
If Apple's and Google's app store management is deemed "anti-competitive" of the same sort, it would reduce the cost for Epic to proceed with the two lawsuits in parallel. On the other hand, for Google, the decision against Apple will fall on Google itself, and its efforts to differentiate itself by allowing multiple app stores may be in vain. For both of these reasons, it is likely that Google will continue to try to distance itself from the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.