Epic Games, the creator of the popular game Fortnite, has taken legal action against Google in a federal court case that could have significant implications for how Android users access apps and make in-app purchases. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in California, focuses on Google's fees for in-app subscriptions and transactions, as well as other terms that app developers argue have allowed Google to maintain an illegal monopoly in app distribution. This legal battle highlights the ongoing debate surrounding app store operators like Google and Apple and their impact on competition within the app ecosystem. Both companies claim that their app stores generate substantial revenue for small businesses and provide security oversight for users. The trial may feature testimony from high-profile figures such as Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The dispute originated in 2020 when Epic attempted to bypass Apple and Google's app store terms by encouraging Fortnite players to make in-app purchases directly through Epic's website. This move violated the developer terms and resulted in the removal of Fortnite from both app stores. While Epic's case against Apple may soon be reviewed by the Supreme Court, Fortnite remains available on Android devices through non-Google channels. Epic's CEO has accused Google of violating US antitrust law by exerting control over and taxing transactions between users and developers. Google argues that Epic simply wants access to the Play Store's massive user base without paying to support the platform, and a victory for Epic could undermine Google's ability to compete with Apple's iOS. The lawsuit initially involved multiple plaintiffs but has been narrowed down to Epic Games alone as other parties reached settlements with Google.
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