Google Antitrust Trial 2.0: CEO Sundar Pichai Tries to Defend App Store Monopoly

Google CEO Sundar Pichai outside courtroom
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently faced a grueling 75-minute interrogation in a San Francisco federal court, centering around the alleged antitrust practices of the Google Play Store. His testimony is part of the second antitrust suit against the internet giant, this time brought by Fortnite developer Epic Games.

Fortune reports that Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently delivered a tense 75-minute testimony in a San Francisco federal court as part of the ongoing antitrust trial brought by Fortnite developer Epic Games. Pichai’s presence in court was marked by a mixture of calm explanations and frustration under intense questioning.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 26: Fans attend day one of the Fortnite World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 26, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The trial revolves around allegations by Epic Games against Google’s Play Store payment processing system. Epic Games claims that Google’s collection of a 15 percent to 30 percent commission on in-app purchases constitutes an illegal monopoly, harming consumers and stifling innovation in the software development industry. This system, according to Epic, leverages Google’s market dominance to suppress competition in Android app stores, leading to inflated prices and discouraging innovation.

Pichai’s testimony comes at a crucial time, with Google facing similar antitrust allegations in a separate trial in Washington DC. Both trials highlight common concerns regarding Google’s immense power and its relationship with Apple, another tech giant.

During his testimony, Pichai defended Google’s practices, emphasizing the competition that the Android operating system faces from Apple’s iOS. He pointed out that the Google Play Store operates in an environment of fierce competition, which benefits consumers by offering more choices and driving down prices. Pichai asserted that 97 percent of software developers with apps on Google Play do not pay any fees, as they either do not sell digital goods or do not meet the revenue threshold for commission charges.

Pichai also highlighted Google’s substantial investment in the Android operating system, which offers an alternative to Apple’s iPhone, and the free distribution of Android to manufacturers like Samsung, in exchange for pre-installing Google services.

The legal battles also shed light on the complex financial arrangements between tech giants. It was reported that Google shared a significant portion of its ad revenue from Safari search queries with Apple in 2021, which has raised further questions about the nature of competition between Google and Apple.

Read more at Fortune here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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