Google faces antitrust fights on both US coasts as Epic trial begins

Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is now fighting antitrust battles on both sides of the US as its legal challenges mount.On Monday a trial to settle the private anti-competitive claims of "Fortnite" creator Epic Games kicks off in a California federal court.That follows nearly two months of legal arguments in a Washington DC courtroom, where Google is facing off against the Justice Department and a group of US states.The Epic lawsuit accuses Google of abusing its power in the mobile App Store market, and will be decided by a 10-person jury.The lawsuit from DOJ and states accuses the tech giant of unfairly gaining and holding on to market dominance in the online search market.In October, Google and Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai arrived at a federal courthouse in Washington to testify in an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)A judge will rule in the government's case, which began Sept. 12 and has included testimony from Google's CEO Sundar Pichai as well as executives from Google search market rivals Microsoft and DuckDuckGo.Google has argued in that case that it is being punished for its success.Pichai is also expected to testify in the Epic trial. The dispute between Google and Epic companies began in August 2020, when “Fortnite,” Epic's popular game with about 350 million registered players at the time, was booted from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s (AAPL) App Store.In a "Mega Drop" update by Epic, the game maker circumvented the app stores by giving its players a way to make direct, in-game purchases at a 20% discount.In separate cases brought by Epic, Google and Apple defended their actions arguing that Epic’s alternate in-app purchase method violated their terms of service. Though Epic argues that the respective terms of service violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.Apple has already defended and prevailed in its decision to cut out the popular game maker from its app store.In September 2021, US district court Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruled in a non-jury trial that Epic failed to prove Apple’s app store qualified as an illegal monopoly.However, in a small victory for Epic, Gonzalez also ruled that Apple had violated California’s anti-steering laws and ordered Apple to stop prohibiting Epic and other third-party app developers from informing their users about alternative purchasing methods.In April, an appeals court upheld that ruling. Both Apple and Epic have appealed to the Supreme Court and await its decision on whether to take up the case.Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.