Google a 'crooked' bully, has de facto control on Android apps: Epic CEO

by IANS |

San Francisco, Nov 21 (IANS) Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has testified in Google vs Epic antitrust case, saying it is a ‘crooked’ bully that has monopolistic control over mobile game developers on Google Play Store.

Sweeney told the court here late on Monday that Google called him into its Mountain View, California, headquarters to try to persuade Epic to release the Fortnite game in the Play Store.

Sweeney said Google tried to entice him with a wide range of financial incentives, which he rejected, reports CBS News.

"It seemed like a crooked arrangement. Google was proposing a series of side deals, which seemed designed to convince Epic not to compete against them,” Sweeney told the jury.

“I want everybody to see and understand Google exercises de facto control over the availability of apps on Android,” he added.

Sweeney's testimony came less than a week after Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended its Play Store for Android apps. It's one of two antitrust cases against Google.

After rejecting Google's offers, Epic tried to distribute the Fortnite game for Android through its own website.

However, Sweeney testified that effort quickly turned into "a depressing process" because far fewer game players downloaded Fortnite for Android phones than anticipated.

"We realised Google was a difficult adversary and had the ability to obstruct us," Sweeney was quoted as saying.

Epic eventually released Fortnite in the Play Store in 2020.

The alternative payment option was released in August 2020 in revised Fortnite apps for both the Play Store and the iPhone app store, prompting both Apple and Google to block it within a few hours.

"It's an issue I see as existential to all games, including Epic," Sweeney said.

Sweeney also said he would have taken Sony to court over PlayStation cross-play.

“We were willing to fight them in court if necessary,” he said.

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