Fortnite developer Epic Games refiled an anti-trust suit against Google last month, and the latter recently removed some of the redactions from its filings in the suit to uncover surprising revelations. Google has “contemplated buying some or all” of Epic Games.
This information comes from the Fortnite developer’s description of an internal Google document. While the document wasn’t available to the public to read, the unredacted files did mention a statement made by Epic Games on the situation when Google felt threatened by Epic’s presence in the market.
“Google has gone so far as to share its monopoly profits with business partners to secure their agreement to fence out competition, has developed a series of internal projects to address the “contagion” it perceived from efforts by Epic and others to offer consumers and developers competitive alternatives, and has even contemplated buying some or all of Epic to squelch this threat.”
It is clear that the statement is referring to Epic possibly bypassing Google’s payment services to distribute Fortnite through other channels and sidestep the latter’s commission.
Epic Games CEO responds to Google calling Fortnite developer’s plan a ‘contagion’
Google’s plans to buy Epic Games were a secret. Even Epic were shocked when this was revealed. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny recently tweeted about the situation, saying it was unclear whether Google would have negotiated or made a hostile takeover attempt.
Another important piece of information that comes to light from Tim’s tweet and the recently unsealed documents is the fact that Google knows about the monopoly it is creating in terms of app sharing on Android using the Play Store.
Fortnite developer highlights the hypocrisy of Google
While on the one hand, Google calls Android an ‘Open Platform,’ a Google employee admitted to Fortnite developers after reaching out and saying that sideloading of apps on Android is frankly abysmal:
One manager contacted Epic’s Vice President and Co-Founder to gauge Epic’s interest in a special deal and, among other things, discussed “the experience of getting Fortnite on Android” via direct downloading. The manager’s call notes state that she viewed direct downloading Fortnite as “frankly abysmal” and “an awful experience”, and that Epic should “worry that most will not go through the 15+ steps.”
This is the entire basis of Epic Games’ anti-trust suit against Google, alleging that the latter is creating a regime of monopoly when it comes to app sharing on Android, and developers are forced to give in to its hefty commissions.
Epic filed a similar suit against Apple, and the case is pending judgment following the infamous trial. iOS users cannot play Fortnite. However, the game is still available on Android via sideloading.