Epic Games and Match Group are attempting to broaden their lawsuits against Google to include additional allegations.
The two companies accused Google of paying off developers who had the means and ability to create competing Android app stores in a motion filed on Friday with a federal court in the Northern District of California.
Epic and Match, in particular, point to agreements such as Project Hug. According to a complaint filed by Epic last year, the initiative, later dubbed the “Apps and Games Velocity Program,” saw Google spend millions of dollars to keep some of Android’s most popular developers on the Play Store.
“Some of these agreements were intended to, and did, prevent developers from launching competing app stores,” the motion states, adding that Google committed a “per se” violation of the Sherman Act, the primary US antitrust law.
Per se violations of the Sherman Act do not require a plaintiff to demonstrate how a specific behavior negatively affected the market because it is widely accepted that such actions reduce competition (price fixing, for instance, falls under that category).
Google confirmed that it would oppose the motion. “Epic and Match are adding more inaccurate claims to their failing lawsuits, and we look forward to setting the record straight in court,” said a company spokesperson.
“The program on which Epic and Match base their claims simply provides incentives for developers to give benefits and early access to Google Play users when they release new or updated content; it does not prevent developers from creating competing app stores, as they allege,” they added.
“In fact, the program is proof that Google Play competes fairly with numerous rivals for developers, who have a number of choices for operating systems and app stores.”
The motion comes after Epic and Match reached temporary agreements with Google earlier this year to keep their apps on the Play Store while their litigation is resolved.
Google accused Match of attempting to pay “nothing at all” for access to the Play Store in a countersuit filed in June. The Department of Justice and a group of more than three dozen states have also questioned Google’s store fees.