Even Google thinks Android apps are awful

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Picture for an article titled Even Google thinks downloading apps on Android is a horrible experience

Photography: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images))

So much is revealed when court documents are officially unsealed, and in the case of the Epic Games lawsuit against Google against monopoly, we now know that Google was considering buying Fortnite the manufacturer has completely “suffocated this threat”. Google has also tried to convince Epic Games not to limit Fortnite to side-loading on Android devices, as this would lead to a poor user experience.

U court submissions, which you can download and view yourself, Epic cites an internal document in which Google called Epic’s plans a “contagion” in its business. The company also states that “Google is using its size, influence, power and money to push third parties into anti-competitive agreements that further strengthen its monopolies.”

There is no public documentation indicating that Google has approached Epic -us with an offer to buy a gaming company, nor any clear time frame. Epic CEO Tim McSweeney tweeted in response to The Vergean article saying that Google’s plan was “unknown to us at the time.”

Epic also claims that Google offered him a special launch agreement Fortnite in the Play Store. Although the details remain sealed and redacted, the document then describes how senior Google Play executives approached Epic about its plans to restrict Android users to switching games.

One manager contacted Epic’s vice president and co-founder to assess Epic’s interest in the special deal and, among other things, discussed the “experience of downloading Fortnite on Android” via direct download. Notes on the manager’s call state that she viewed the takeover of Fortnite as a “sincere abyss” and a “terrible experience,” and that Epic should “worry that most won’t go 15+ steps”.

Elsewhere in the document, there are claims that Google has acknowledged that applications loaded from the side “lead to [po]or user experience, ”since Android users need more steps than installing an app directly from an authenticated app store. A Google employee has even gone through “installation frictions” that turn a direct download into a “bad experience” for users.

Google’s parts of Epic are read as an assurance as to why it should be played according to the rules of the Play Store and distributed through it. It is even mentioned that side-loading would prevent users from receiving consistent app updates necessary for game performance and security, which ultimately resulted in “significant user confusion”.

It’s Epic Games sue Apple and Google to remove Fortnite from both app stores after the use of your own in-game payment system is prohibited. But the case has become part of a significant case state lawsuit against monopoly against Google, which claims that its general practices are anti-competitive. The side piece is intriguing because the ability to install apps outside of official app stores is part of what makes Android more open than Apple’s platforms. But if Google tells app developers that the load is terrible and forces them to offer apps on Google Play, it’s not exactly in the spirit of openness. For its part, Google denies the claims and claims that its ecosystem is open to all developers who want to securely distribute apps through their app stores.



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