For now, Android app developers' attempts to Sue Google to block its 30% commission are not looking good. Because last Friday, a FEDERAL judge in the United States approved Apple's App Store to charge developers similar fees.
Many developers, including Fortnite developer Epic Games, took aim at Apple and Google's app stores last year. Critics say the fees are ridiculously high, the result of two big tech companies monopolizing the market after developers collectively pay billions of dollars a year to the two app stores.
Litigation over Google is expected to continue for at least another year. Legal experts say both sides of the court could use the time to build on the Apple decision.
On Friday, federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in Epic Games v. Apple that Apple should allow developers to directly inform users about more ways to pay. That sent Apple's shares down 3.3 per cent and Alphabet, Google's parent, down 1.9 per cent.
Like Apple, Google's App Store applies similar rules to apps that are available, limiting developers' ability to communicate with customers. Tom Forte, an analyst at D.A. Davidson, an investment bank, said Google's approach could also be at risk. He added that the constant new regulatory action by U.S. lawmakers also posed more risks for Google.
While developers have long complained, Judge Rogers ordered them to comply with the app store's rules. These include the ability for Apple to charge developers 15 to 30 percent when users pay through apple Pay.
Katherine Adams, Apple's general counsel, told reporters that the company was "very pleased." Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games; Tim Sweeney said: "Today's ruling is not a victory for developers or consumers."
Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, said she thought Rogersford ruled against developers vs. Google, while Alston & Amp; Valarie Williams, an antitrust partner at Law firm Bird, also said Google is "likely to be encouraged by this decision."
Judge Rogers said Apple's restrictions do reassure users that most of the apps they buy are safe and their payments through Apple Pay will be fine.
Rogers writes; "The restrictions on app distribution allow Apple to filter fraudulent and objectionable content in its app review process, combat piracy, and impose higher privacy requirements. Apple's approach increases safety 'broadly'."
According to Rogers' ruling, apple's commissions generated "substantial profits" for the company. But Mr. Rogers said that if he forced Apple to ease restrictions, the company could struggle to get any money for running the app Store platform. Judge Rogers also said apple's selling points to consumers, such as security and centralized systems, would be negatively affected.
Mr Rogers said the 30 per cent commission fee was "set almost by accident when Apple first launched the app store" rather than the result of market power.
Google's app Store is also designed to protect privacy and user safety, and has long charged commission levels that mirror Apple's, according to documents disclosed in the lawsuit.
Given Google's small share of the US mobile app market, plaintiffs may need to find more evidence to win. Rogers said that any commission claims by Epic Games would not be reasonable for Apple and that Epic Games had failed to provide clear evidence that Apple monopolized the market.
In the case of Developers v. Google, merely tweaking the arguments may not be enough. The Google case was difficult from the start. Android users can install apps from other sources, which makes It easy for Google to avoid the argument that it dominates the market. Historically, Google's App Store has also been more lenient in enforcing certain policies.
Lawyers representing Google, Epic Games and other developers suing Google's app Store also declined to comment. The Us attorney general of Utah is leading a related lawsuit by us states. He said he was reviewing the Epic Games v. Apple ruling.