In an Indian court, Epic Games charges Google of disobeying parts of an infringement directive by failing to host the game company’s app store on the Google Play Store app.
The allegations made by Epic are among the legal issues that the Google Inc. business in India is now dealing with. After losing a legal dispute with the Competition Commission of India(CCI), Google declared last month that it would change its Android business model, including stopping its practice of mandating device makers to pre-install various Google services like YouTube or Chrome.
Epic Games apparently intends to introduce its own app store inside the Play Store in India. Despite being told by the CCI to let third-party app stores on the Play Store, Google has not complied with the order.
Epic Games has now filed a lawsuit against Google for disobeying an antitrust order that the Competition Council of India imposed on Google regarding how it markets Android and set up Android’s app marketplace, the Google Play Store, following a lengthy & exhausting legal battle in the US.
The CCI ordered the internet giant to stop using unfair commercial practices in October last year. The tech giant, according to CCI, has taken advantage of its monopoly in the app store sector to expand into the Android OS market as well. In that case, the CCI levied an Rs. 1,337.76 crores fine.
What is the complaint?
According to Epic, Google’s Play Store app does not host the app store for the gaming company. The allegations made by Epic are the most recent in a string of legal problems plaguing Alphabet & Google in India.
After losing a legal battle with the Competition Commission of India, Google said last month that it would reform its Android business model in India & stop demanding that a range of Google applications, such as YouTube or Chrome, be pre-installed on devices (CCI).
According to Epic’s appeal, there is no legitimate difference between installing & downloading software on a desktop computer and doing the same for mobile apps.
The antitrust watchdog in India has given Google the go-ahead to host third-party app stores inside the Play Store. Additionally, it mandated that Google allow users to sideload – also referred to as unconstrained software downloads – software from sources other than the Play Store. Epic alleges that Google has followed neither of the orders.
Why is Epic targeting Google in India?
Google and Apple are fighting in courts worldwide for engaging in anticompetitive behaviour, not just in India. On the other side, Epic Games is taking legal action against both Apple and Google for their limits on the App Store and for charging creators of apps an extortionate price for inclusion in the respective app stores.
Epic Games intends to introduce its app store within the Play Store in India. With more than 600 million mobile players, India has become among the fastest-growing mobile gaming markets in the world. One of the most well-known battle royale games, Fortnite, was never given a right chance to compete in India.
After Epic Games introduces a direct payment link that avoid the commission structure imposed by the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the Fortnite app has to face backlash from both app stores in 2020. But India has become a significant market for Epic Games in what seems like a different sector.
How has Google responded?
Epic Games’ Director of Global Public Policy, Bakari Middleton, claimed that the company is trying to partner with Indian developers in court to defend the CCI’s ruling compelling Google to allow competing third-party app stores.
On the other side, Google stated that it has respectfully presented its compliance plan to the CCI and would continue to follow Indian legal procedures. In response to the CCI’s instruction back in October, Google stated that the ruling would limit the growth of the Android ecosystem, denied wrongdoing, and stated that they would be aiming to overturn the regulation.
The Indian Supreme Court ordered Google to follow the CCI’s orders even though it permitted Google to continue arguing its case before the New Delhi appeals tribunal, wherein Epic has also filed a complaint. The court will take Epic’s request for an injunction requiring Google to follow the CCI’s ruling into account in the coming days.
Epic Games being one of the biggest game stores, and Google, a tech giant, will have a major impact on the Gaming Industry of India. Such conflicts between the two hinder the growth our country has seen in Gaming. As both groups consider India a growing audience, observing how this dispute between them plays out would be interesting!