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Google Opposes Epic Games’ Demands, Citing High Costs and Security Risks

 |  June 26, 2024

Google has urged a California judge to reject Epic Games’ proposed remedies following the Play Store’s classification as an illegal monopoly. Google contends that the required changes would be excessively costly and could compromise the security of Android users, reported The Register. 

On Monday, Google filed a briefing objecting to Epic’s demands, revealing that its internal estimate for implementing these changes could reach up to $137 million. This estimate includes the costs of catalog access, library porting, and the distribution of third-party app stores, along with ongoing expenses to maintain these operations.

“These estimates reflect the technical and review costs to Google,” the company stated in the filing. “They do not include the incalculable costs that Google would suffer from the harms to the Google and Play brands or to the security and viability of the Android ecosystem caused by these remedies.”

According to the Register, despite reporting a net income of $23.7 billion in the first quarter of 2024, Google argues that the financial burden of the proposed changes is unsustainable.

Related: Epic Games Pushes for Competition in Google Play Store After Antitrust Verdict

Google’s objections focus on three specific requests from Epic Games:

  1. Access to Google Play’s Catalog: Epic wants third-party app stores to have access to Google Play’s catalog of apps not available on their stores for easier linking back to Google Play. Google argues this would unfairly benefit third-party app stores by giving them a “free ride” on Google’s extensive app catalog. Moreover, Google asserts that creating a new method to share metadata with third-party stores would pose significant security risks.
  2. Library Porting: Epic demands support for library porting, which would allow users to transfer app ownership from Google Play to the same app on a third-party store. Google claims that Android 14 already “largely addresses the goal of the library porting remedy,” making additional measures redundant.
  3. Distribution of Third-Party App Stores: Epic seeks to compel Google Play to distribute third-party app stores. Google counters that the Play Store is currently designed to distribute apps, not app stores, and modifying it to do so would be both expensive and risky for user security.

Six months have passed since a California jury deemed Google Play an illegal monopoly, but the issue remains unresolved. Epic and Google have been engaged in ongoing court battles to negotiate the terms of the injunction Epic proposed in April. The court’s request for Google’s recent briefing came after a May discussion between “economic experts,” during which Judge James Donato reportedly expressed skepticism about Google’s claims of a Play Store catastrophe.

Source: The Register