RALEIGH – Jim Verdonik, one of the Triangle’s top attorneys for technology startups and cofounder of Innovate Capital Law, sees warning signs for tech giants in Cary-based Epic Games’ antitrust victory over Google on Monday.
So wrote Verdonik, who has written extensively for TechWire about Epic’s legal challenges against both Google and Apple, in response to TechWire’s request for his reaction to the verdict in a San Francisco federal court.
“David beats Goliath once again.
“This could really shake up the apps industry,” he added, a point made by Epic owner Tim Sweeney who called the decision a victory for developers and consumers.
“Of course, Google is likely to appeal,” Verdonik added.
Google said it planned to do just that.
“Beyond that, I note that this case was decided by a jury,” Verdonik added.
“The Apple case was decided by a judge.”
Indeed. Epic lost on virtual all counts in its antitrust suite against Apple. But there’s an appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court in January.
“This [Google jury verdict] may reflect populist leanings by people who are tired of big tech dictating terms to everyone,” Verdonik added.
Epic sued both companies after its Fortnite game was banned from both stores. Epic had implemented workarounds to avoid 30% fees.
“In that sense, it may have implications beyond the app industry. Facebook and other platforms could be affected by a populist revolt,” Verdonik warned.
“If so, Congress may update antitrust laws to deal with modern big tech business practices.”
Other big cases are being heard against Google, Facebook and others. Meanwhile, the European Union continues its own crackdown on the tech industry.
So could real change be coming?
“It’s a long road ahead,” Verdonik said, “but [Epic’s victory] might be the first step.”