In the latest chapter of the ongoing legal battle between Google and Epic Games, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is gearing up to defend his company’s app store practices during a court battle set to take place next week. This marks the second time in just three weeks that Pichai will be testifying in a major antitrust trial, highlighting the intense scrutiny facing Big Tech companies.
The court proceedings, scheduled to unfold in a San Francisco federal court on Tuesday, will see Epic Games’ attorneys questioning Pichai about Google’s alleged illegal monopoly over the Android app marketplace through its “Play” store. Epic Games, the maker of the popular game “Fortnite,” has accused Google of employing anticompetitive practices to maintain dominance, reported The New York Post.
One of the focal points of the trial is Google’s payment strategy, known as “Project Hug,” which Epic Games claims was a “bribe and block” scheme designed to discourage companies from creating their own app stores. Pichai is expected to face intense scrutiny regarding Google’s payments to major developers, including Activision-Blizzard and Riot Games, with the allegations dating back to 2020.
Epic Games contends that Google’s payments were a strategic move to stave off potential competition, and they argue that these practices hinder fair market competition. Pichai is anticipated to face questioning for up to an hour on these and related matters.
On the other side of the courtroom, Google’s attorneys are expected to spend roughly 30 minutes questioning Pichai about the competition the company faces from other app stores. Google asserts that its payments were essential defensive measures against challenges from competitors like Apple’s App Store and similar marketplaces.
The trial is set to unfold over approximately four weeks, with its conclusion expected in early December.
Source: NY Post