Google struck a $360 million Activision deal to shut down a rival app store, the lawsuit says | Jobi Cool


OAKLAND, Calif., Nov 17 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s ( GOOGL.O ) Google has struck at least 24 deals with major developers to stop them from competing with the Play Store, including an agreement to pay Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI. O) about $360 million over three years, according to a court filing Thursday.

Google also agreed in 2020 to pay Riot Games unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd ( 0700.HK ), which makes “League of Legends,” about $30 million in one year, the filing said.

The financial details emerged in a recently unredacted copy of a lawsuit “Fortnite” video game developer Epic Games first filed against Google in 2020 alleging anti-competitive practices related to the search giant’s Android and Play Store businesses.

Google has called the lawsuit baseless and full of misrepresentations. It said its deals to keep developers happy reflect healthy competition.

Riot said it was reviewing the application. Activision did not respond to requests for comment.

Epic last year lost a largely similar case against Apple Inc ( AAPL.O ), the leading provider of the app store. An appeal decision in that case is expected next year.

The Google deals with developers are part of an internal effort called “Project Hug” and were described in earlier versions of the lawsuit without specific terms.

The commission includes payments for YouTube impressions and credits for Google ads and cloud services.

The deal with Activision was announced in January 2020, soon after Google said it was considering launching its own app store. The partnership with Riot was also intended to “suspend their in-house ‘app store’ efforts,” the court filings say.

At the time, Google predicted billions of dollars in lost app store sales if developers fled to other systems.

Epic’s lawsuit alleges that Google knew that signing Activision “effectively guaranteed that (Activision) would abandon its plans to launch a competing app store.” The contract raises prices and lowers the quality of service, the complaint says.

Other signatories with Google starting in July included game makers Nintendo Co ( 7974.T ) and Ubisoft Entertainment SA ( UBIP.PA ), meditation app Calm and education app Age of Learning, according to court papers.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Richard Chang and Josie Kao

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

San Francisco Bay Area tech reporter covering Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focusing on the local technology industry.



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