Google is trying to distance itself from the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple.
As judges attempt to determine whether Epic’s dispute with Google is related to the Fortnite maker’s other dispute with Apple, Google has advised the two cases “should not be related.”
The company claims the cases “lack the requisite ‘substantial’ parity in parties, transactions, and operative facts,” and notes that there are a number of key differences between the iOS marketplace and its own Google Play storefront.
“Android and iOS compete to attract app developers and end users, but the conduct underlying their competition – and at issue in these two separate sets of lawsuits – is distinct,” reads the filing, uploaded to Scribd.
“While Apple’s iOS allows the distribution of apps only through Apple’s proprietary app store, Android devices, in contrast, can have multiple app stores simultaneously pre-installed or downloaded and allow for end users to side load apps via the Internet.
“That means Android app developers can distribute apps through multiple Android app stores, work directly with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or carriers to preload apps, and distribute apps to users directly from their own websites.
“As a result, Apple and Google each have their own separate and unique negotiations and contracts with app developers and original equipment manufacturers. These fundamental differences in the way Apple and Google support app distribution create key distinctions in the claims and defenses in the iOS/Apple Cases and Android/Google Cases.”
Essentially, Google is doing everything it can to differentiate its own policies and practices from Apple’s, and while the two platforms are undeniably different in their approach, Epic still claims Google employs “anti-competitive” Android polices that stifle meaningful competition.
For instance, while Google does allow other developers to host their own storefront on Android, Epic posits that the company puts software downloadable outside of the Google Play Store at a deliberate disadvantage.
“After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization: Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage,” said Epic, commenting on Google’s practices back in April 2020.
“[Google uses] technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play Store.”
You can read Google’s full response to the Judicial Referral over on Scribd.