Google formed ‘Fortnite Task Force’ over Digital Store concerns

  • Google formed a “Fortnite task force” to handle Epic Games, legal applications show.
  • Epic has been publicly sparring with both Apple and Google about their smartphone app stores since 2018.
  • Epic’s latest legal filing describes Google’s unique response to “Fortnite” bypassing the Google Play Store.

When “Fortnite” maker


Epic games

tried to circumvent both Apple’s and Google’s app large fees in the summer of 2018, the hit game ended up being deducted from both services.

Although Google allows Android apps outside the Google Play Store to be downloaded and used on Android smartphones, it formed a special “Fortnite Task Force” to tackle the issue of “Fortnite” skipping payments to Google, according to recently filed legal documents.

“To address Epic’s decision to launch ‘Fortnite’ outside of Google Play, Google assembled an internal ‘Fortnite Task Force,'” a new legal application in Epic’s ongoing lawsuit with Google states. “A collection of ongoing notes from Task Force meetings, which met daily in early August 2018, reflects Google’s anti-competitive goals,” the archive states.

Epic specifically moved “Fortnite” from the Google Play Store and into the Samsung Galaxy app store, which is also available on Android smartphones.

“‘Ultimately, we want Samsung to stop this kind of thing,'” the meeting notes from Google’s task force read.

The documentation also claims that Google intentionally published a relatively minor security flaw with “Fortnite” as a means of discouraging players from downloading the app outside of the Google Play Store.

“Meeting notes from ‘Fortnite Task Force’ reflect that Google planned to publish the vulnerability in a blog post
within 15 days, “whether Samsung or Fortnite have taken action” to resolve it, “the archive states.

In addition, two media outlets – described as “friends” – were tipped off about the security issue.

At least one business reported the “Fortnite” security flaw at the time as “a major security flaw,” while Google documents show that the security issue was seen internally as “not a critical security (or even high) vulnerability.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokesman Peter Schottenfels gave Bloomberg the following statement:

“Epic released Fortnite on Android with security vulnerabilities that could compromise consumer data. Security and safety are our top priorities, so of course we took steps to warn our users of this security breach in accordance with our app security policy. We will continue to fight Epic’s claims in the court. “

Do you have a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-working device to reach out. PR pitches via email only, please.

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