Google considered buying Epic Games as the companies sparred over Epic’s Fortnite Android app, according to newly unsealed court filings. Last night, Google lifted some of its redactions in Epic’s antitrust complaint against Google, which Epic amended and refiled last month. The complaint still omits many details about Google’s dealings with specific companies, but the new details reflect internal Google communications about competition on the Android platform.
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. Here’s Epic’s description of the situation:
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 internal messages discussing that possibility remain secret, and the complaint doesn’t indicate that Google ever reached out to Epic with these plans. It also doesn’t give a timeframe for the discussion — although it presumably happened after Epic started its plans to launch Fortnite on Android…