The search company has held an interest in Epic Games for at least a year, going back to when Epic was in the final stages of acquiring a Google-backed startup called Elemental Technologies.
Epic Games has already rejected Google’s bid to acquire the company, saying it does not fit with its “long-term vision.”
Most of the attention in the Epic vs. Apple vs. Google antitrust litigation has been centered on the dispute between Epic and Apple since it has generated the most attention, but Epic is also suing Google over the same issue. When we last checked, Google had attempted but failed to dismiss the lawsuit, and the most recent significant news included the court rejecting a long delay for the case.
There has been more movement and disclosures in the Epic vs. Google battle since then. Epic re-filed their case in July, tying it to a claim brought by 36 states, and unsealed court papers released this week reveal Google’s original intention to acquire Epic in order to prevent the business from implementing an alternative payment mechanism for Fortnite on the platform. According to Epic, this is how it happened:
“Google has gone so far as to share its monopoly profits with business partners in order to secure their agreement to fence out competition, has developed a series of internal projects to address the ‘contagion’ it perceives from efforts by Epic and others to offer consumers and developers competitive alternatives, and has even considered buying all or part of Epic to squelch this threat.”
The relevant Google conversations are still sealed and redacted, and Epic’s lawsuit doesn’t go into detail about when this allegedly happened. According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, Epic was only aware of Google’s concerns because of the court action. Meanwhile, Google claims that Epic is distorting the discussions at hand. “Epic’s complaint is without merit and misrepresents our business discussions. “Android gives developers and customers more options on mobile devices,” a Google spokesman stated.
Epic’s complaint goes on to say that Google tried to get Fortnite on Google Play via side-loading (aka direct download) but put up “myriad barriers” to make the process intentionally difficult for users, funneling them to the Play Store itself — an argument that, by the way, is part of the multi-state antitrust suit Epic has linked its filing to. Google refutes the suit’s allegations once again, claiming that Android “allows developers to distribute applications across various app stores.”
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