The Epic vs Google legal battle is still ongoing and the latest set of court documents has revealed a new twist. As spotted by The Verge, it is suggested that Google considered buying Epic as a way of getting them to be quiet.
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.
“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,” tweeted Epic’s Tim Sweeney. “Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear. ”
However, Google have denied the claim. “Epic’s lawsuit is baseless and mischaracterizes our business conversations. Android provides more choices in mobile devices for developers and consumers,” a spokesperson told The Verge.
Epic vs Apple went to trial in May and we’re currently awaiting the ruling.
Epic and Google have quite publicly not seen eye-to-eye over this in the past, with Epic deciding to pull Fortnite from the Google Play Store in August 2018. They then started to distribute the app themselves, which is possible through being able to side-load apps from third-party sources on Android. However, Epic decided to return to the Play Store, issuing the following statement.
Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.
Another key player in all of this is Microsoft, who will offer game streaming to Android with Game Pass Ultimate this September. While the app will be available on Google Play, you will not be able to purchase DLC via the app because Google will want to take a 30% cut.