Alphabet’s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, is set to take the witness stand in an antitrust trial initiated by Epic Games. The trial, scheduled to commence on November 6th in a San Francisco federal court, centers on Google Play’s policies, which have the potential to impact billions of dollars in revenue generated by the app marketplace, reported Bloomberg.
Sundar Pichai and Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, have been named as key witnesses in this closely watched case. Epic Games launched the legal action in 2020, alleging that Google’s distribution, payment, and fee policies within its app store are unlawful and stifling competition. The outcome of this legal showdown will not only affect these two tech giants but could also have repercussions for the wider tech industry.
This lawsuit is just one facet of a wider antitrust battle that encompasses complaints filed by nearly three dozen state attorneys general, consumers, and Match Group Inc. These plaintiffs collectively accuse Google of behaving like a monopolistic entity, wielding its market power unfairly to the detriment of competitors.
Sundar Pichai finds himself in the hot seat not only for this trial but also for an ongoing case in Washington, where the U.S. Justice Department has accused Alphabet of maintaining a monopoly in web search. His testimony in these high-profile trials underscores the significance of the legal challenges that Alphabet is currently facing.
In a recent development, Alphabet tentatively settled claims in complaints brought by consumers and state attorneys general concerning Google Play’s alleged abuse of control over Android mobile applications. However, the terms of this settlement were not disclosed in court filings. If finalized, this agreement would narrow the scope of the broader antitrust battle, with Google left to contend with the allegations from Epic and Match Group that it leveraged its monopoly power to stifle rivals in the Android app distribution market.
Sundar Pichai is expected to undergo rigorous questioning by Epic’s legal team, with topics ranging from Android’s business practices to Google’s agreements with wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers. Google’s attorneys, in turn, may call Pichai to the witness stand to mount a defense of their app marketplace policies.
Additionally, both Epic and Google’s legal teams intend to summon Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, to testify for 90 minutes each. Sweeney’s testimony will delve into the intricacies of Epic’s Games Store business and the game developer’s experiences with Google Play and the Android platform.
Source: BNN Bloomberg