CARY – Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says Google’s own actions in “deleting” company records helped his company win its antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant on Monday.
“The brazenness of Google executives violating the law, and then deleting all of the records of violating the law,” Sweeney told CNBC in an interview. “That was really astonishing. This is very much not a normal court case, you don’t expect a trillion-dollar corporation to operate the way Google operated.”
Sweeney and Google CEO Sundar Pichai met in person for an hour on Dec. 7 after earlier discussions between representatives of both companies as ordered by Judge James Donato in the case. They failed to reach an out-of-court settlement. Four days later the jury got the case.
The judge referenced evidence of Google’s actions in the instructions he gave the jury:
“You have seen evidence that Google Chat communications were deleted with the intent to prevent their use in litigation. You may infer that the deleted Chat messages contained evidence that would have been unfavorable to Google in this case.”
The jury voted unanimously in favor of Epic after only a few hours of deliberation.
Sweeney also noted that the suit was heard by a jury whereas Epic’s largely failed suit against Apple was settled by a judge.
Epic has been battling Apple and Google for three years.
Google has said it will appeal. The Apple case is set for review by the Supreme Court in January.
Epic had protested 30% fees charged in the giants’ app stores for purchases related to its Fortnite game. He titled Epic’s legal campaigns as “Free Fortnite.”
Sweeney has said Epic isn’t seeking damages from Google but wants a cheaper fee structure and more flexibility.
There’s a lot of money at stake in these cases. As CNBC noted:
“The decision could give app makers a bigger revenue share of the digital app market, which is currently dominated by Google and Apple, and is worth about $200 billion per year.”
Google also faces other challenges.
“The loss for Google could also empower other antitrust-based challenges to the search giant’s business, including a similar case brought by the Department of Justice,” CNBC said.