Google aimed to buy Epic Games during Fortnite tussle
According to newly unsealed court filings seen by The Verge, Google allegedly offered a “special deal” to launch Fortnite back on Android Store.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted on Friday that this was “unbeknownst to us at the time, and because of the court’s protective order we’re just finding out now about Google’s consideration of buying Epic to shut down our efforts to compete with Google Play”.
“Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear. Here Google also talks about the ‘frankly abysmal’ sideloading experience they created, all while touting Android publicly as an ‘open platform,’” Sweeney further posted.
Epic claimed that Google was threatened by its plans to sidestep Google’s official Play Store commission by distributing Fortnite through other channels.
In an unredacted segment, Epic said: “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 Fortnite developer last month renewed its fight against the app store restrictions, filing a new complaint against Google in its anti-trust lawsuit. The company last year sued Google over the removal of the Fortnite game from the Play Store.
Epic plans to launch Fortnite on the Samsung Galaxy Store.
“Google was determined not to let this happen,” so it offered Epic a “special deal” to launch on Google Play.
“When Epic rejected the deal, Google allegedly took other anti-competitive action, but the details of that action aren’t available,” according to reports.
Epic is also involved in a legal battle with Apple. Apple’s main trial with Epic finished in May, with both sides now awaiting a decision from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on the matter.
The much-reported trial between Apple and Epic Games began on May 5, as the companies got involved in a legal battle over the use of an in-game payment system.
The Fortnite game was removed from App Store in August last year after the company allegedly violated rules by adding an in-game payment system aimed at depriving Apple of its commission on in-app purchases from App Store.