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Google Considered Buying Epic Games

Epic Games claims Google contemplated buying it out to eliminate the threat of it distributing Fortnite to Android and collecting user payments via non-Play Store channels.

Epic, currently involved in antitrust lawsuits with both Apple and Google, claims in a court filing that internal Google communications mooted the possibility of purchasing the game publishing giant in order to stop it from bypassing the Play Store and Google’s commission on app sales through its platform.

“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 filing read; Epic also claims Google offered it a sweetheart deal to launch Fortnite via the Play Store.

In a tweet, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the publisher had been unaware of Google’s internal deliberations at the time, with Epic seemingly never having been approached directly.

“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,” he said.

Infographic: Global App Spending Passed $100 Billion in 2020 | Statista

Google Play is the world’s largest app store, according to research from Statista, with almost 3.5 million apps available, though Apple’s App Store beats it in terms of revenue.

In a previous response to Epic’s filing, Google insisted that Android’s open ecosystem allowed distribution of apps through multiple app stores.

“For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users.

“While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. We will continue to defend ourselves against these meritless claims,” the company said.

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