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Google May Get Boost In Fortnite Suit From Apple's Policies

Google's less strict app-store policies give the search giant a better chance of beating game company Epic's lawsuit than fellow tech giant Apple has of winning a similar Epic case, Reuters reports.

The lawsuit in question from Epic says that the companies exerted overly dominant market power in barring it from their app stores after Epic tried to institute a new payment option in Fortnite for users to pay through the app rather than through Google or Apple respectively.

Apple's App Store policies could end up being its downfall in the lawsuit, experts said, according to Reuters, as Apple has been known to force companies to install all apps through its own store. Google, by contrast, lets companies install apps through a variety of options.

“With Apple, things are extreme because there’s no alternative whatsoever," said Nicholas Economides, a New York University economics professor who looks into online market practices, as quoted by Reuters. "That makes for a stronger potential case.”

Google spokesperson Dan Jackson said the Play Store offers opportunities for customers to access apps paid for elsewhere, which Apple's store does not, and encourages users to get apps other places so as to avoid fees, Reuters reported. The tactics allowed dating app maker Match Group to offer other payment options for popular app Tinder on the Play Store, which wouldn't have worked on Apple's store.

However, developers are usually more beholden to Apple, with 70 percent of U.S. app revenue coming from the App Store, Reuters reported.

And Epic's argument against Google might be weakened by the fact that Epic did "fine" financially after another recent period when Fortnite was removed from the Play Store at Epic's own discretion, according to Shili Shao, who researched app stores for Yale University’s Thurman Arnold Project for antitrust studies, as quoted by Reuters.

Apple removed Fortnite from its store after Epic attempted to add another payment method, including the incentive of a discount. In response to the lawsuit, Apple has also decided to block Epic's account from its store entirely and cut off access to software options afforded to developers, Epic said Monday (Aug. 17).

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