LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc.’s Google is embroiled in its second major antitrust trial in the United States, initiated by Fortnite creator Epic Games.
The case, expected to conclude before Christmas, is centered around allegations of Google’s monopolistic control over Android app distribution via its Play Store.
The trial follows a similar lawsuit against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) earlier this year, which resulted in apps being allowed to offer alternative payment options, potentially destabilizing tech giants’ commission structures.
The proceedings kicked off with Epic Games accusing Google of creating an illegal monopoly on Android apps to boost profits through commissions on in-app purchases, which vary between 15% and 30%.
Google’s defense team countered the allegations, asserting that the company faces substantial competition from mobile and video game console stores, including Apple’s app store.
Epic Games claims that Google employs a “bribe and block” strategy to discourage competition and complicate downloading Android apps from other outlets.
Google defends these tactics as safety measures and justifies the commission system as necessary for maintaining an operating system powering billions of smartphones globally.
The defense suggests that Epic aims to boost its profit by avoiding a payment system that diverts revenue from popular games like Fortnite.
The trial will feature testimonies from Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.
Concurrently, the U.S. Justice Department is challenging Google’s internet search dominance for alleged power abuse.
This legal challenge is part of Epic Games’ “Project Liberty”, an initiative aimed at app store transaction fees.
The lawsuit follows Epic’s 2021 case against Apple and accuses Google of using its control over Android and the Play Store to squeeze excessive profits from app developers.
Despite these allegations, Google recently settled antitrust claims with state attorneys general and Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH), the owner of Tinder.
However, the Play Store continues to play a crucial role in services licensed to Android phone manufacturers and serves as a major entry point for Google’s search engine.
Epic’s lawsuits have drawn scrutiny from global regulators, notably in South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) – Google’s largest mobile partner.
In response to these concerns and as part of its efforts to appease large app developers such as Spotify (NYSE:SPOT), Google has allowed alternative payment systems in the Play Store.
Despite these changes and the popularity of Epic’s Fortnite game on the platform, Alphabet reported a decline in Play Store revenue last year due to fee changes and decreased spending.
In light of the ongoing antitrust trial, it’s important to consider some key insights from InvestingPro.
Despite the legal challenges, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) continues to yield high returns on invested capital and holds more cash than debt on its balance sheet, according to InvestingPro Tips.
This financial strength could potentially help the company navigate through the legal turbulence.
InvestingPro’s real-time data reveals Alphabet’s robust financial performance. The company’s Market Cap stands at a staggering 2790.0B USD as of Q4 2023, with a P/E Ratio of 29.09.
The Revenue for the last twelve months as of Q4 2023 is reported to be 383.29B USD.
While Alphabet’s dominance is being challenged legally, the company’s financial health and market position remain strong.
For more in-depth insights and tips, consider exploring InvestingPro’s comprehensive resources.
It offers numerous additional tips and metrics that can help investors make informed decisions.