Earlier in the month, partially redacted court documents show that Google considered buying out Epic Games to quash the Play Store competition. The very same document has gotten fully unredacted, which unearthed more information. Pertinent to the buyout that Google considered was that the internet search giant considered enlisting the help of Tencent to do so.
According to the document, Google was considering two options when it came to working with Chinese gaming conglomerate Tencent. One was to buy the shares that the latter owns to be able to get more control over Epic Games. The other was to “team up” with the conglomerate to completely buy over Epic Games. For context, Tencent owns 40% of Epic, while CEO Tim Sweeney remains the controlling shareholder.
It appears, sadly, that Google was indeed contemplating a coordinated, multinational hostile takeover attempt of Epic in response to Fortnite launching outside of Google Play.https://t.co/yJ2dTzis7D
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 19, 2021
Another unredacted segment of the document also suggests that Google and Apple considered working together “as if we are one company” to keep their respective walled gardens. A Google spokesperson told Protocol that Epic Games’ lawsuit “mischaracterises our business conversations”.
The unredacted document comes after presiding judge James Donato denied Google’s attempts to keep the documents sealed. While it’s not uncommon for such documents to remain sealed, this is only when they contain an individual’s sensitive information, or a company’s trade secrets. Judge Donato ruled that “no similarly sensitive information is at stake here”.