OnePlus, Samsung say they were blocked from including Fortnite in app stores | Epic against Google

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The antitrust jury trial between Epic Games and Google continues, with much of Monday’s proceedings focused on agreements between Google and other phone makers over what apps they can include on their smart devices.

According to The Verge, the court was told that Chinese tech company OnePlus required Google’s permission to pre-install Fortnite on its phones, which Google reportedly denied.

James Kolotouros, vice president of Android platform partnerships, confirmed that OnePlus needed a waiver from Google to add Fortnite to its devices and that the only other option was to give up its share of Premier revenue.

Google later insisted that OnePlus had made its own choice not to pre-install Fortnite, with an internal Google email revealing a request from OnePlus executives showing the decision was made to maintain “a long-term sustainable growth”.

The company added that 95% of Android phones in the US are not part of the Premier revenue sharing tier and therefore is able to preload apps from a non-Google marketplace if the manufacturer wishes.

Later in the day, discussion turned to the relationship between Samsung and Google, with a message from the latter expressing concern about being able to install Fortnite on a Samsung Note 8 without being alerted that it came from “Unknown Sources.”

Epic previously complained during the trial that non-Google Play apps experience too many “unknown source” warnings when installed directly on Android, even when the app in question is as popular and established as the Battle Royale game.

“We really need to understand what’s going on (and I think DJ should too),” Google’s message to Samsung reads, referring to Samsung Mobile president DJ Koh. “Very concerned. I’m also surprised it’s on the Note 8, given what you said about the Note 9 and Tab S4 only.”

Google said it was a concern about a security threat, citing another message sent to Samsung five days later that said: “I took a deeper look on Friday and discovered a vulnerability in the Fortnite installer (and in the Galaxy Apps Private Install API) which allows a malicious app to install a fake version of Fortnite with arbitrary permissions granted.”

Epic’s lawyer said that this vulnerability was patched within a day.

The trial continues later today, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai expected to appear as a witness. You can follow the biggest news on Epic vs Google here.

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