Epic Games sues Google after 'Fortnite' removal from Play store, and draws allies

Aug. 14, 2020 1:08 AM ETAlphabet Inc. (GOOG)AAPL, GOOG, TCEHY, GOOGL, MTCH, SPOTBy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor215 Comments
  • If you thought Epic Games was bluffing ... Thursday night after the game company had sued Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) over its game Fortnite's removal from the App Store over payment cuts, Epic sued Google (GOOG, GOOGL) after the game was removed from Google's Play Store on the same logic.
  • "While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies," Google says - a bit of a hedge, as it lets Android customers know the game is available to them elsewhere, just not in its store.
  • That means the Apple fight is a bigger deal. But Epic sued Google just the same, saying "Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: 'Don’t Be Evil’ ... Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize."
  • Epic is closely held, majority owned by CEO Tim Sweeney with a 40% minority stake owned by Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY).
  • And now that Epic has stepped into the ring, allies are starting to speak up - with words that could help fuel the antitrust case against Apple - including Spotify (NYSE:SPOT): "We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position. Apple's unfair practices have disadvantaged competitors and deprived consumers for far too long."
  • And Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH), home to dating app Tinder, says "We fully support Epic Games' efforts today to show how Apple uses its dominant position and unfair policies to hurt consumers, app developers and entrepreneurs. Regulators across the globe have expressed similar concerns and are examining Apple's arbitrary practices. Match Group supports all efforts to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of a fair app ecosystem."
  • “We must all choose to fight a painful battle now, or accept an all-powerful middleman with unbounded ambition to extract tribute and limit innovation in the decades to come,” Sweeney told the WSJ, spoiling for a fight.

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