The details of this will probably prompt a “why would we even care about this” to most people here.
The short version is that Google has built a massive monopoly across different platforms and services. It has a hard lock on search with over 80% dominance. This is really bad news for conservatives because it aggressively biases search results. But it also has expanded into various arenas including browser and mobile operating systems. Android dominates non-Apple smartphones and tablets. That gives Google’s app store a lock on a huge chunk of the market and allows it to decide which apps people can use.
Remember when Apple and Google banned Parler? Since so many people have moved over to smartphones, an app ban can effectively cripple a conservative app. There are ways around it, but your average person is not going to be able to handle them.
Other forces have been fighting Google’s monopolies and one of them is a gaming company known as Epic. Epic most famously makes Fortnite, an obnoxious multiplayer game. These types of games make most of their money from players buying virtual currency. Epic has been reluctant to give Apple and Google a cut. A prolonged legal battle across state legislatures and courts ensued with Epic attacking Google’s app story monopoly.
And now it won a victory.
A jury has decided that Google has turned the Google Play Store and the Google Play Billing service into an illegal monopoly, a significant victory for Fortnite developer Epic Games three years after it sued the Android developer on antitrust grounds.
The jury unanimously answered yes to all of the questions presented to them on Monday in San Francisco court. It concluded that Google has monopoly power over the Android app stores and in-app billing service markets, that Google engaged in anti-competitive behavior in the markets, and that the behavior caused Epic Games harm. The victory is a change from the California court’s 2021 ruling in Epic v. Apple, in which the game developer mostly lost its case against the Big Tech company but gained the ability to charge for its products through third-party interfaces.
There’s no need to cheer for Epic. The company has sizable Chinese investment and its core business is pumping kids for money to buy costumes for their in-game characters. But the ruling, as it stands now (Google will certainly appeal) may create a more open internet which is what conservatives, currently under the boot of Big Tech, desperately need.
If Google loses some of its app store authority, it will have less ability to censor conservatives. And that would be a big win for freedom.