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Epic CEO Tim Sweeney calls Android a “fake open platform” – Times of India

During Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against Google, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, took the witness stand in the federal courthouse, testifying in the legal battle.
Sweeney says that the Android operating system is a “fake open platform.” He reinforced his claims that Play Store’s policies are illegal and enable Alphabet to have a monopoly in the Android mobile app distribution market.
The lawsuit began in 2020 when Epic bypassed Android and bypassed the Google Play billing system, which had been taking a 30% cut on app developers’ revenue, and then Google took down Fortnite. Sweeney said that they wanted to avoid the system and do business directly with their customers.
During his testimony, Sweeney stressed the need for transparency regarding the actions of Google and its control over the availability of apps on Android. “It’s important for everyone to fully comprehend the situation on these platforms,” he stated from the witness stand.
During his testimony, Sweeney recalled that Google had invited him to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, to persuade Epic to release Fortnite in the Play Store instead. Sweeney stated that Google offered him a range of financial incentives, which he refused. He described the offer as a “crooked arrangement” and claimed that Google was proposing a series of side deals to prevent Epic from competing with them.
Instead, Google formed “secret” agreements with mobile device manufacturers to maintain Google Play’s status as the dominant Android app marketplace.
Sweeney further added that he initially believed that Android was an open platform for developers in 2018, only to realise later that Google’s operating system was a “fake open platform” as closed as Apple’s App Store regarding developer policies.
Epic attempted to distribute Fortnite for Android through its website after rejecting Google’s offers. However, the effort was “a depressing process,” resulting in a disappointing number of downloads. “We realised Google was a difficult adversary and had the ability to obstruct us,” Sweeney said.
Epic released Fortnite on the Play Store in 2020, while secretly working on “Project Liberty” that would circumvent Google’s commission system. The alternative payment option was released in August 2020 and resulted in antitrust lawsuits against Google.
Google lawyer Kravis pointed out that Epic pays 30% commissions to console makers without objection while earning billions in profit from those platforms. Epic’s in-app purchase revenue came mainly from consoles and PCs during the period when Fortnite was available on the iPhone app store and the Play Store.
Epic paid a 30% commission fee to console companies and earned $12 billion in total from these consoles. Epic is charging the same price for in-game purchases on all platforms, including its own store, where no commission fee is charged. When asked about passing on the benefits of the fee reduction to customers, Sweeney acknowledged Epic was saving approximately 3% by not utilising a payment processor.
During Sweeney’s testimony, he stated that his primary goal was to distribute games to more users rather than seeking monetary damages.
Sweeney’s goal is for the court to force Google to stop its unfair practices and find them guilty of violating the law. “It’s an issue I see as existential to all games, including Epic,” he said.

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