Google pushed to remove third-party app stores
Google pushed to remove third-party app stores

The unaddressed portion of Epic Games' antitrust complaint against Google reveals new details about the extent to which the search giant is disrupting third-party app stores on the Android platform.

The company has been running the Premier Device program since 2019. This allows Android phone manufacturers to get a greater share of Find revenue than usual.

In return, the manufacturer agreed to sell these devices without pre-installing third-party app stores.

Specifically, manufacturers follow a rule that bans apps with APK permissions without Google's approval, making the Google Play Store the only integrated digital marketplace for software.

Products that comply with the Premier Device program receive 12% of the company's research revenue. That's compared to the 8% you normally get.

The company continued to improve its dealings with companies such as LG and Motorola. It saves these companies 3-6% of customer spending on their devices on the Google Play Store.

In the complaint, Epic Games lawyers wrote: Premier Device is not publicly known. Epic Games was not aware of this until Google began providing material related to this lawsuit.

They added that "Google is trying to hide its more restrictive and anti-competitive behavior through the agreement itself." This is a provision that prevents the Site from publishing information about the Agreement without the prior written consent of the other party. No public statement.

Google pushed to remove third-party app stores

Premier Devices continues to describe the complaint as a resounding success in cementing the Google Play Store's dominant position.

By May 2020, many of the biggest and most popular Android device manufacturers had agreed to use the Google Play Store exclusively on most of their new devices.

Motorola and LG attribute almost all devices (98% and 95%) to Premier devices.

Major Chinese conglomerate BBK (which makes and sells a range of Android devices under its Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus brands) has found that about 70% of its new devices are used in Premier devices.

In addition, other companies such as Sony (50%) and Xiaomi (40%) did not participate in the plan.

However, Epic Games argued that the software tends to support the Google Play Store on third-party stores.

A new generic section of the complaint shows the implications of the plan. According to Epic Games, a 2017 report for the in-house search giant found that apps installed via channels other than Google Play (including direct downloads and competing app stores) accounted for just 4.4% of downloads.

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