Now that Epic Games is buying Bandcamp, it’s worried that Google may pull the music app. In connection with its antitrust case, Epic has requested a temporary ban that would prevent Google from removing or otherwise blocking access to Bandcamp in the Play Store. Most notably, the developer claims that Google’s stricter requirements for in-app purchases (which will require Bandcamp to use Google’s June 1 billing system) and late payments (from a maximum of 48 hours to as long as 45 days) would cause “irreparable damage” to both epic and musicians.
Epic also maintains that it is likely to win in its antitrust case. Google, meanwhile, reportedly wants “no harm” if existing Play Store policies remain in place.
We have asked Google for a comment. There is a good chance that the Android creator will object to the injunction. It accused Epic in October of “intentionally” violating Play Store’s rules Fortnites internal billing, and a successful request would force Google to make an exception to the updated Bandcamp policies.
Whether it succeeds or not, the filing of injunctions will draw attention to regulatory pressure on Google and its arch-rival Apple. Google is facing an antitrust case from 36 states and Washington DC over its alleged abuse of Play Store controls, while the company and Apple are facing a wave of bills and other queries about their app policies. People are keeping a close eye on how Google treats Bandcamp, and dragging in the app may give rise to more criticism or legal action.
Update 29/4 15:05 ET: Google told Engadget that it rejects Epic’s argument and that Bandcamp should only pay a 10 percent fee. You can read the full statement below.
“This is another worthless claim from Epic, which is now using its newly acquired app Bandcamp to continue its efforts to avoid paying for the value that Google Play provides. We have been transparent about Plays’ payment policy for more than 18 months, and as Epic knows, Bandcamp is entitled to a service charge of only 10% through the Plays Media Experience Program – far less than the fees they charge on their own platforms. “Despite their claims, Android’s openness means that Bandcamp has several ways to distribute their app to Android users, including through other app stores, directly to users via their website or as a consumer-friendly app, as they do on iOS.”
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