The Epic Games vs. Apple goes ahead and reveals secrets of the game industry. However, this is not the only battle Epic is fighting in the legal world. We have the Google antitrust complaint filed by Epic which essentially alleges that the Android ecosystem is discouraging competition.
The edge revealed the last secret via newly disclosed court findings: Google considered buying some or all of Epic Games while the two companies were sparring over Epic’s Fortnite Android app. Epic claims that Google was threatened by its plans to circumvent Google’s official Play Store commission by distributing the game through other channels.
So, what was the solution for Google? Well, just buy Epic Games so they don’t compete with Google, of course! Epic revealed that Google was offering it a “Special Deal” to launch the game on the Play Store. Not only that, but Epic was also allegedly approached by a Google Play manager who admitted that sideloading the app was a complicated process.
Essentially, Epic claims that even the staff know that there are a myriad of barriers being put in place so that users are heavily armed to install apps directly from the Google Play Store.
Employees have acknowledged internally that the difficulty Google imposes on consumers who want to download instantaneously leads to a “[p]user experience,” in the sense that there are “15+ steps to get the app” [via sideloading] vs 2 steps with Play or on iOS.
In addition, Epic cited an internal Google document that called Epic’s plans a “contamination” that would threaten Google:
Google isn’t satisfied with the contractual and technical barriers it has carefully constructed to eliminate competition, but Google uses its size, influence, power and money to get third parties to enter into anti-competitive agreements that further entrench its monopolies. For example, Google has gone so far as to share its monopoly profits with business partners to secure their agreement to foreclose on competition, has developed a series of internal projects to address the “contamination” it has seen from Epic’s efforts and others to offer consumers and developers competing alternatives, and has even considered buying some or all of Epic to quell this threat.
Tim Sweeney spoke about this publicly on Twitter recently. Declare that this was unbeknownst to Epic at the time of filing the complaint. Only now are they finding out thanks to a protective order from the court.
Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear.
Here, Google is also talking about the “frankly awful” sideloading experience they’ve created, while publicly touting Android as an “open platform”.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2021
And yes, Tim Sweeney is right about what he says in the second tweet. Google denied the allegations in Epic’s antitrust suit, stating that:
“The open Android ecosystem allows developers to distribute apps across multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users,” it said in a previous comment about Epic’s amended submission. “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. We will continue to defend ourselves against these baseless claims.”
It’s unbelievable how many facts keep popping up after Apple and Google’s Fortnite bans. Let’s not forget that all this happened because Fortnite introduced a payment system that bypassed their in-app purchase commissions. With this in mind, we can only wonder what other insidious tactics both Google and Apple have taken to monopolize their mobile environments.
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