Victory over Google! After 4 weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts. The Court’s work on remedies will start in January. Thanks for everyone’s support and faith! Free Fortnite! https://t.co/ITm4YBHCus
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) December 12, 2023
In the most recent episode of All-In, they were talking about how antitrust, with regards to mergers, had become totally arbitrary. It was a completely different situation they were discussing: the proposed merger of Adobe and Figma. I haven’t followed that case other than seeing headlines and hearing about it on podcasts, but the UK authorities are talking about some kind of theoretical future competitiveness being thwarted.
Again, totally different situation: but how can Epic lose against Apple and then win against Google?
You can read the details of why that happened, but they really only create more questions about how the state interacts with large multinational corporations in the Western world.
Something is not working here. It seems like it’s always the worst of all worlds. I’m glad Epic beat Google. I’m glad to see Google lose on anything, because they just never do. But this is a piece of a larger whole of how the state manages these corporations, and it’s all ridiculous.
Epic Games’ lawsuit against Google has had a much different turnout from its courtroom battle with Apple. A federal jury has sided with the video game developer and has found Google to be in violation of US antitrust laws when it comes to how it runs the Play Store. According to The Verge, the jury has unanimously agreed that Google held an illegal monopoly on app distribution and in-app billing services for Android devices. Further, it found the company’s distribution agreements with other video gaming companies, as well as its deals with device manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices, to be anticompetitive.
In its complaint, Epic said that Google had silently paid game developers hundreds of millions of dollars to make their titles downloadable from the Play Store in an initiative that was originally known as “Project Hug.” It alleged that the company had paid Activision Blizzard $360 million to abandon its plans of creating a competing app store, which the game developer subsequently denied. Google, which Epic said came up with the incentive program after it released Fortnite outside of the Play Store, also reportedly inked deals with Nintendo, Ubisoft and Riot Games.
The jury has come to the conclusion that Epic Games has been negatively affected by Google’s actions, but we’ve yet to know how its victory will change the latter’s practices. In a statement posted on X, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the court will start “work[ing] on remedies” in January. Judge James Donato, who’s overseeing the case, will be making the decision whether to order Google to give developers the freedom to introduce their own app stores and billing systems for Android devices.
Aside from the joy of seeing Google lose for once, I’m not even sure this is the right ruling.
Separately, Epic is itself a shady company that engages is what I would describe as anticompetitive practices, so I’m not sure I’m glad to see them win. (Plus Fortnite is a game purposefully designed to make children gay.)
Further: the fact that this had to go before a jury feels totally ridiculous. Should there not be regulators already with clear outlines of how this is supposed to work?
I have said it millions of times and I will stick to it: every corporation’s only responsibility is to make as much money as possible. Claiming that corporations have moral (or “ethical”) responsibilities is retarded and if you think it through, actually nonsensical. A for-profit has two responsibilities:
- Make money
- Obey the law
Insofar as there is any “moral imperative” in the economy, it is the government’s job to make things fair. The leftist ideas about wealth redistribution are definitely not fair, but neither is a total lack of any form of regulation which effectively allows corporations to act with impunity in their mission to profit.
It is the worst thing to start talking about the ethical responsibilities of corporations, and it’s really a red herring that allows governments to skirt responsibility for regulating the economy while pocketing these companies’ money. Meanwhile, the corporations talk about “ethics” in order to justify the fact that they are unregulated. (But again – they have a duty to do stuff like that, because their only duty is to make money.)
If Google paid Activision Blizzard a $360 million bribe to not distribute their own games, that must be a crime, right? Surely, there is some law that both of these companies violated there, is there not?
It’s not rhetorical. I actually have no idea. But if there isn’t a law, there should be.
Some may argue, potentially, that this entire system is designed to be anticompetitive, on every level, and that we’re all just used to it, which is why this ruling against Google feels so strange.
Then, if you consider “free trade” – which is mostly a separate issue – and witness how diabolical it all is, you can only conclude that the corruption is so deep that you would need an entire new government to basically start from the ground up in designing a framework for a modern free market economy.
You’d probably want to study China. They seem to be doing alright.