Fortnite-creator Epic Games and Tinder-maker Match Group now seek to expand their lawsuits against Google with additional allegations. The companies filed a motion last Friday with a federal court in the Northern District of California, claiming that the tech giant entered into anti competitive agreements with app developers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that had the potential to create their own Android app stores or launch their apps outside of Google Play, so that they wouldn’t challenge its monopoly.
The allegations focused on Google’s agreements including the ‘Project Hug’ program, or later named as the ‘’Apps and Games Velocity Program”, through which Google paid off more than 20 prominent developers millions of dollars to keep their well-liked apps on the Play Store, Epic Games said in a lawsuit last year.
The companies accused Google of violating the Sherman Act, the antitrust law in the United States, by making these agreements.
‘’Some of these agreements were intended to, and did, stop developers from launching competing app stores, which is a per se violation of the antitrust laws,’’ Epic Games and Match Group wrote in the motion.
As reported by Engadget, a Google spokesperson said that the company would oppose the motion.
“Epic and Match are adding more inaccurate claims to their failing lawsuits and we’re looking forward to setting the record straight in court.” the spokesperson said. “The program on which Epic and Match base their claims simply provides incentives for developers to give benefits and early access to Google Play users when they release new or updated content; it does not prevent developers from creating competing app stores, as they allege. In fact, the program is proof that Google Play competes fairly with numerous rivals for developers, who have a number of choices for operating systems and app stores.”
Earlier in May, both Epic Games and Match Group reached temporary deals with Google that allowed them to keep their apps on its app store. However, Google countersued Match in July, accusing it of breaching its agreement by using an external in-app payment system instead of Google’s billing system and not paying its service fees.