Friday, August 6, 2021

Google Considered Buying Epic

Adi Robertson (tweet):

Google considered buying Epic Games as the companies sparred over Epic’s Fortnite Android app, according to newly unsealed court filings.


Epic claims Google was threatened by its plans to sidestep Google’s official Play Store commission by distributing Fortnite through other channels, and in an unredacted segment, it quotes an internal Google document calling Epic’s plans a “contagion” threatening Google.


In another unsealed section, the complaint describes a Google Play manager reaching out to Epic about its plans to sideload Fortnite — and apparently admitting that sideloading is a “frankly abysmal” experience in the process.


Another section says that “staff members have acknowledged internally that the difficulty Google imposes on consumers who wish to direct download leads to a ‘[p]oor user experience,’ in that there are ‘15+ steps to get app [via sideloading] vs 2 steps with Play or on iOS.’”

Tim Sweeney:

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.

Michael Love:

Google really giving away the game here; they a) admit that sideloading UX sucks, b) admit that the effect of that is to drive people to Play, c) recognize efforts by Epic et al to break up Play are bad for business, and d) are willing to spend lots of money to shut those down.


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