Epic Games and Google’s battle continues with more evidence popping up
More than a year later, the epic court battle between Epic Games, Google, and Apple is still going on. Recently the court documents started revealing more and more secrets on how business is being conducted. To follow the battle, Epic has submitted an unredacted document claiming that Google considers locking down Android’s ability to sideload apps in response to the ongoing Fortnite feud.
This ongoing battle centers around how developers sell apps and profit on Android. Epic Games believes that Google is limiting the contagion of competition in an effort to keep the Play Store thriving. The latest court order from this week reveals some anti-competitive actions taken by Google.
There are several important takeaways from this claim. The most important of which is the revelation of the Premier Device Program. This program was launched in 2019 and was a way that Google incentivized phone makers to ship their devices with Google services and apps.
This tactic seems to discourage OEMs from trading devices that come with other app stores that are not Google’s Play Store. This includes the Fortnite Launcher app, used to install the Fortnite app from outside the Play Store. The incentives as part of the Premier Device Program include financial incentives, monthly bonuses, and PlaySpend bonuses for specific OEMs.
Some of the companies that are known to be part of the Premier Device Program include HMD Global (Nokia), LG, and Motorola. A few others are involved to a lesser degree; these are Xiaomi, Sony, Sharp, and a few BBK Properties (including OPPO, Vivio, OnePlus, and RealMe).
Another revelation that came to light was Project Hug, also known as the Games Velocity Program. This initiative was devised to throw love/promotion to top developers and games, probably in an effort to keep them from following in Epic Games' footsteps. According to the document, this effort involved striking multi-million dollar deals with over twenty of the top developers that were at risk of leaving the Play Store.
However, in light of the Android 12s release, we should also note that Google is opening up the Android to other third-party app stores in this version. Thus, Android 12 will allow users to choose and install other app stores on their devices, including app stores not needing constant user interaction to update apps.
This latest information submitted by Epic Games doesn’t shine a flattering light on the tech giant Google, with a lot of little shady deals that are not made public. It would appear that Google is using money to keep developers and OEMs loyal to the Play Store. As more information comes up, I look forward to seeing how things turn out for Google, especially in the light of the new Open Apps Market Act bill submitted by the senate.Advertisement