Google: 360 million agreement not to activate a competing play store

Alphabet Inc’s Google has finalized at least 24 deals with major app developers to end competition with the company’s Play Store, including an agreement to pay Activision Blizzard Inc about $360 million in a three years, according to court documents released yesterday, Thursday.

Google had agreed in 2020 to pay Riot Games, a subsidiary of Tencent Holdings Ltd that makes the “League of Legends” game software, about $30 million over a year, according to the same court documents.

The financial details were made known by a copy of a lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 by Epic Games, the company that produces the online video game “Fortnite”. This lawsuit alleges anti-competitive practices related to research on Android devices, but also Google’s Play Store.

Google, for its part, had characterized this lawsuit as groundless, arguing that it contained misleading characterizations in its entirety. The company argued that its agreements, to satisfy video game software producers, reflect healthy competition.

Riot said it is reviewing the court documents. Activision did not respond to requests for comment. Epic last year lost a similar case against Apple Inc, which also has a leading position in the market for applications through the app store. An appellate court decision on this case is expected within the next year.

The deal with Activision was announced in January 2020, shortly after it was briefed on Google’s thoughts on activating its own app store. The partnership with Riot was also aimed at “stopping their own efforts to set up an internal ‘app store,'” according to the court documents.

During this period, Google estimated that it would have lost billions of dollars in lost app sales if the companies that develop them resorted to alternative systems.

Epic’s lawsuit suggests that Google knew that by signing with Activision it “effectively ensured (Activision’s) abandonment of plans to activate a competing app store.” According to the lawsuit, the agreement increases prices and reduces the quality of services offered.

Among others that have signed with Google since July are video game makers Nintendo Co and Ubisoft Entertainment SA, spiritual meditation app Calm and education app Age of Learning, according to the same court documents.

Source: RES-MPE

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