After nine days, the Google antitrust lawsuit, initiated by Epic Games, has unveiled significant revelations. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, disclosed that the company pays Apple a staggering $18 billion annually to secure the default iPhone search position. Additionally, Don Harrison, Google’s partnerships boss, revealed that Spotify pays no percentage when users opt for Spotify’s payment system, but between 6 to 10 percent when transactions are conducted through Google’s platforms. On the ninth day, Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic, was sworn in to provide testimony. These ten revelations emerged from the proceedings.
Epec CEO Tim Sweeney testifies in the Google cartel trial
1. Sweeney emphasizes his background: “I built the first version of Unreal Engine myself between 1995 and 1998”. He also adds, “I wrote about a quarter of a million lines of computer code in three and a half years.”
2. Sweeney reveals that Epic’s original plan was to launch Fortnite directly on the Google Play Store.
3. Sweeney revealed that Samsung offered the company a special deal to distribute Fortnite on its Galaxy Store. Instead of the usual 30 percent revenue share (which Google requested), Samsung agreed to charge Epic only 12 percent. Sweeney also explained that the two-step download process (Fortnite Launcher, then Fortnite) was necessary to ensure that users can always download the latest version of the game without having to download the entire game file again.
4. Sweeney mentioned that he initially decided to bypass Google Play and distribute Fortnite directly through the Epic Games website. However, he later realized that this decision prevented many users from installing the game. As a result, Epic decided to submit Fortnite to Google Play again, but this time with Epic’s own payment system. Google repeatedly rejected this proposal, and Epic eventually agreed to add Play billing to get the game approved.
5. Sweeney took credit for launching legal challenges against Apple and Google over their app store practices. He said he was acting on behalf of the entire Android developer ecosystem in an effort to break the monopoly of these tech giants and create a more open and competitive app market.
6. The CEO of Epic Games said, “We didn’t want a special deal for ourselves… we’d like everyone to have the ability to distribute through Android like we had through Android.”
7. Epic presented two demands to Google:
1) competitive payment processing options other than Google Play Payments without Google Payments in Fortnite and other epic game software distributed through Google Play;
2) Competing Epic Games Store app available through Google Play and/or direct installation with equal access to underlying operating system features for installing and updating software as Google Play, including the ability to install and update software without Google warning screens. which prevent users from accessing third-party stores.
8. Sweeney said Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from Google in the ongoing legal battle. Instead, Epic’s primary goal is to expand its business opportunities and ensure the fair distribution of Fortnite on Android devices. While Sweeney acknowledges the harm caused by Google’s restrictions, he is focused on seeking an injunction against Google’s restrictive practices. This suggests that Epic prioritizes market access and fair competition over financial compensation.
9. Google questions Sweeney whether China’s Tencent is a major investor in Epic Games. Sweeney says yes.
10. Sweeney points out that if it could add discounts on V-bucks purchased directly through Fortnite and keep the higher payout through Google Play. Note that it violates Google Play policy, which is why Google claims Fortnite was delisted.