Google Fights Fortnite Maker’s Play Store Changes Amid Antitrust Battle: What’s at Stake?

May 3, 2024

Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGLGoogle has urged a U.S. judge to reject sweeping changes to its Play app store proposed by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games in their high-profile antitrust dispute. 

In its recent San Francisco federal court filing, Google argued that Epic’s proposal would hinder its competitiveness.

In 2023, a jury sided with Epic, deciding that Google unlawfully restricted competition through its control over Android app downloads and developer payments for in-app transactions, Reuters reports. 

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In response, Epic asked U.S. District Judge James Donato to facilitate app downloads from alternative sources and give developers more flexibility in pricing.

Epic also wants to bring its Epic Games Store to Android without hindrance. The hearing on the proposed injunction is set for May 23. Google has countered that Epic’s demands would harm consumer privacy and security. 

Additionally, Google contends that its recent settlement with states and consumers, which addresses alternative billing options, renders Epic’s injunction unnecessary.

Google is also defending against another antitrust case in Washington, D.C., in which it is accused of monopolizing the mobile web search market.

Meanwhile, analysts flagged Alphabet’s ongoing growth in mobile search, YouTube, and programmatic advertising, noting that investments in areas like cloud, hardware, and AI are future growth drivers. 

They expect Google’s AI capabilities to keep users engaged. Analysts backed Google’s core business for its utility and durability in search and ad-supported online video. Analysts preferred CTV, with YouTube TV being the fourth largest cable network in the country.

Analysts recommend that Alphabet trade at a premium to a media peer group, backed by its technology, margin, and cash flow moats.

GOOG shares gained 59% in the last 12 months. Investors can gain exposure to the stock via Fidelity MSCI Communication Services Index ETF (NYSE:FCOM) and Vanguard Communication Services ETF (NYSE:VOX).

Price Action: GOOG shares are trading higher by 1.05% at $170.23 premarket at the last check on Friday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo via Shutterstock

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