Unsealed court documents outline Google’s consideration to buy ‘some or all’ of Epic

why does this continue

Most of the headlines regarding the Epic vs. Apple vs. Google antitrust lawsuits have been focused on the spat between Epic and Apple owing to it making the most noise, but we can’t forget that Epic is taking Google to court over pretty much the same matter. When last we looked, Google tried to dismiss the suit but failed, and the last major report involved the judge denying a lengthy delay for the case.

Since then, there’s been some further movement and revelations in the Epic vs. Google fight. Epic re-filed its suit in July, linking it to a lawsuit filed by 36 states, and this past Thursday some unsealed court documents detail Google’s initial plan to buy up Epic in order to stop the company’s attempt at installing an alternate payment system for Fortnite on the platform. Here’s how it occurred, according to Epic:

“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.”

The referenced discussions from Google remain sealed and redacted, and the overall timing of when this allegedly took place isn’t further outlined in Epic’s complaint. According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, Google’s considerations were known to Epic only because of the court case. Google, meanwhile, is arguing that Epic is misrepresenting the conversations in question. “Epic’s lawsuit is baseless and mischaracterizes our business conversations. Android provides more choices in mobile devices for developers and consumers,” said a Google spokesperson.

Epic’s complaint further discusses an apparent deal attempt by Google to get Fortnite on to Google Play via side-loading (aka direct download) but threw up “myriad barriers” to make the process intentionally difficult for users, which would in turn funnel them to the Play Store itself — an argument that, incidentally, is part of the multi-state antitrust suit that Epic has linked its filing to. Once more Google refutes the suit’s claims, saying Android “lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores.”

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