Epic Games keeps piling up lawsuits with App Store owners. This time, Google is countersuing Epic for breach of contract.
Epic signed contracts with both Google and Apple, pledging to use the default payment systems for in-app purchases. As part of its push for more open payment systems, though (and to dodge each platform’s 30 percent fee), Epic boldly pushed out updates to Android and iOS apps that replaced the platform’s in-apps. Changed payment processing from Shopping to Epic. -home system. Both Google and Apple allege that the action is in violation of their App Store agreements with Epic.
Apple sued and delivered its ruling last month. Epic was ordered to pay $3.65 million in damages, covering Apple’s lost revenue from Epic’s three months of self-operated payments. Following that decision, Google wants its missing funding as well, and it is now competing with Epic, hoping for a similar decision.
Google’s lawsuit reads, “Epic knowingly violated the DDA [Developer Distribution Agreement] By submitting a version of Fortnite for publication on Google Play with a payment method other than Google Play billing for the purchase of in-app content. By doing so, Epic deprives Google of service charges under the DDA for any purchases made through the app outside of Google Play billing.”
Google continues: “Users who downloaded a non-compliant version of Fortnite prior to its removal from Google Play can still use Epic’s hotfixed external payment mechanism to make in-app purchases – to Epic Allows Google to avoid the contractually agreed service fee for those purchases.”
Google argues that “Epic Alternative has been unjustifiably enriched at Google’s expense” and is seeking restitution of its missing earnings and losses.
Google’s lawsuit also takes time to draw a bright line between Android and iOS, saying that, “Unlike competitors such as Apple, Google is required to allow Android users or developers to download, install, or distribute apps on Android.” No need to use Google Play” and that “most Android phones” come preloaded with multiple app stores. Google claims that “consumers and developers are not required to use Google Play; they choose to use it when given a choice between the Android App Store and distribution channels.”
Implication: If Epic doesn’t like the Play Store rules, it’s free to go elsewhere.