It’s been nearly a year since Epic Games sued both Google and Apple over their removal of Fortnite from the Play Store and App Store respectively, and now, updated and newly unsealed court documents in Epic Games’ filing against the former reveals that at one point, Google even considered purchasing the company- allegedly in order to quell competition.
As spotted by The Verge, Epic alleges in its complaint that when the company decided to sidestep the Play Store’s requirements and decided to make Fortnite available on Android devices via other means, Google, sensing a threat to its revenue and in order to suppress competition and potential losses, considered buying out “some or all” of Epic Games.
“Google’s persistent monopoly is the result of deliberate efforts by Google to achieve and maintain it,” the document reads. “Not content with the contractual and technical barriers it has carefully constructed to eliminate competition, Google uses its size, influence, power, and money to induce third parties into anticompetitive 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 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 court filing does not indicate whether this was just something that Google was considering or whether this resulted in any actual steps being taken as well, but we can, of course, assume that nothing eventually came of it.
Meanwhile, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny recently took to Twitter that Google’s alleged plans were, at the time, unknown to Epic, and that’s something that has only recently changed.
Given the way these things tend to go, it’s probably going to be a long time before we get to see any resolution from Epic’s legal battle again Google and Apple, but the court documents from both cases have brought some pretty interesting information to light these last few months, so we’re not exactly complaining.
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”.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2021