Here’s how much Google says it’d cost to fulfill Epic’s biggest demands

Here’s how much Google says it’d cost to fulfill Epic’s biggest demands

How much would it cost Google to let third-party app stores like the Epic Games Store live inside its own Google Play Store, with access to every Android app? Google says the reputational damage can’t be calculated — but that it’d take 12 to 18 months and upwards of $60 million to build and maintain the technical underpinnings.

We’re still waiting to find out what Epic actually won in its surprise victory against Google last December, after a jury decided the Google Play app store and Google Play Billing are illegal monopolies — but we know what Epic wants. The Fortnite developer’s biggest ask was arguably for Google to open up its own Android app store, forcing Google to carry other competing app stores inside its walls.

While $61.3 million may sound like a lot of money on the low end (or upwards of $137 million on the high end), we saw in court documents that Google makes billions of dollars in profit from the Google Play store every quarter — for 2021, the company’s own forecast suggested the store would produce nearly $12 billion of profit in a single year. That’s over $31 million in profit each day.

Google also argues it should be entitled to collect a fee from third-party app stores if it were forced to go through with these changes.

Again, it’s not all about the money. As you can read in the full document, Google claims that Android app developers “would suddenly face a host of regulatory and compliance risks associated with advertisement and distribution of their apps around the world” if Google were to let any app store take its catalog of apps.

It also argues that user safety and its reputation are at stake because “ill-intentioned app stores could then intermingle the apps from Google’s catalog with malware or pirated apps from their own catalog,” among other examples.

“These proposed remedies would require a dramatic redesign of the Play Store and Android that would harm Android users and developers, the trust and safety of the Play store, and the Android ecosystem and require Google to become a forced dealer for its competitors,” Google writes.

Epic will now get a chance to question Google’s estimates, and file a rebuttal. The court is scheduled to have a final hearing on August 14th.

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