Unsealed court documents claim Google said “installing friction” “would severely limit” Epic’s reach • The Register


A freshly unsealed file [PDF] in the epic smackdown between the maker of Fortnite video game and Google reveal claims that a senior “Google Play” executive noted that users might be put off by the “frankly appalling … awful experience” of directly downloading and installing games on the Android kit .

Another juicy detail uncovered by the still partially drafted document was that Google had considered buying all or part of Epic and approached the company to establish a “special deal” for Fortnite.

The allegations were made public at the end of last week.

The case was first brought against Google by the Fortnite maker on August 13 of last year in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In the complaint, the developer alleged anti-competitive practices by the tech giant in the Android ecosystem, which Google largely controls, after it started from the Play Store.

On the morning of the trial, the developer announced a method for Epic players to purchase in-game currency without using Apple and Google’s proprietary payment systems. The sueball was one of two over 60-page pre-prepared lawsuits filed by Epic Games, which is also developing the Unreal Engine, on the afternoon of August 13, 2020 after being removed from official app stores. Apple and Google earlier today for his move. The action was described by Apple at the time as “calculated” and was quickly sued for breach of contract; here is The register‘s takes on the Apple v Epic lawsuit, whose closing arguments were delivered at the end of May this year.

As for the Google action, Epic’s initial complaint against the Alphabet branch, also dated August 13, 2020, [PDF], called Google’s commission a “30% ‘tax’ on app purchases and transactions through the app.”

The 2020 complaint claimed that Google “illegally maintains monopolies in several related markets” in the Android mobile ecosystem.

Google, however, quickly fought back, saying developers were trying to abuse antitrust laws to force the tech giant to help its competitors. Last year, he asked the California federal court to dismiss both Epic Games ‘and other app developers’ claims against Google’s app store and integrated payments system, claiming in a November 2020 motion [PDF] that Google has “no obligation under antitrust laws to allow competing app stores on Google Play” and that Epic et al had not demonstrated anti-competitive prejudice.

Executives’ comments in the recently unsealed case are therefore apparently not good news for Google, which the documents said had further considered purchasing some or all of Epic Games.

The file stated:

The developer’s brief also cited an internal Google document titled “Response to Epic”, in which a staff member allegedly “explained that the” installation friction “associated with direct downloading was” not just a bad experience “for users. but that Google knew “from its data that it will drastically limit [Epic’s] to reach’.”

He went on to say that a “senior manager of Google Play … contacted the vice president and co-founder of Epic to assess Epic’s interest in a special deal and, among other things, discussed “the experience of getting Fortnite on Android “by direct download.

Google [PDF], meanwhile, noted in a January response this year to Epic’s allegations “challenging Google’s conduct in protecting users from malware” that the Fortnite The manufacturer could not “dispute that it wants Google to change its unilateral practices to address security concerns on Android, which in the context of product design does not constitute a basis for antitrust liability.” .

He further asserted that “OEMs and consumers are free to install competing app stores, and users are free to download apps directly.”

As with the Apple lawsuit, Epic’s lawsuit against Google seeks an injunction, meaning it wants the court to stop future exclusionary behavior in the Google Play Store (and ultimately the Apple Store as well) . He hopes to change the way developers distribute and monetize software. During the Apple trial, Cupertino sought to describe Epic Games as aimed at getting the benefits of the iOS app store, including security protection for users, but without paying for it.

Although Epic was keen not to ask for monetary relief, a decision in its favor would obviously be extremely beneficial financially.

We asked Google for a comment.

The case continues. ®

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