The ongoing legal showdown between Epic Games and Google has taken a dramatic turn, with allegations of potential evidence destruction by Google employees, including the CEO. The case questions whether Google’s Play Store constitutes an illegal monopoly with high fees and strict rules for Android app developers. The focus has shifted from the app store monopoly issue to revelations of corporate practices during the trial.
In 2020, Epic introduced a direct purchase option for Fortnite’s in-game currency on mobile, circumventing app store fees, leading to the removal of Fortnite from both Apple and Google stores. Epic’s lawsuit against Google now raises concerns about evidence tampering, with claims that Google employees, including top executives, might have deleted or concealed crucial evidence.
The trial has highlighted Google’s failure to provide an adequate number of chatlogs during discovery, with Epic’s legal team grilling executives over deleted chats and attempts to keep conversations off the record. Allegations include Google employees using a chat system tool to prevent chat history from being saved, even after a legal hold was imposed following the Fortnite lawsuit against Apple.
Google’s Information Governance Lead, Genaro Lopez, faced questioning about missing chatlogs, revealing the company’s policy of encouraging employees to chat “off the record” on sensitive issues. The trial exposed Google’s chat system’s tool that allows employees to prevent chat history from being saved.
The VP of Apps and Games at Google Play, Purnima Kochikar, admitted to having default settings to delete chats every 24 hours, further raising suspicions. Margaret Lam, Google’s head of platforms & ecosystems strategy for Android, was shown requesting the turning off of chat history due to “sensitivity with legal these days.”
Even Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, admitted to not saving his chats, allowing messages to auto-delete after 24 hours. The trial showcased evidence of Pichai requesting chat history to be turned off. Epic’s goal is to demonstrate to the jury that Google may have been hiding or deleting evidence, undermining the company’s credibility in the legal proceedings.
The judge in the case has expressed frustration over the situation, demanding Google’s chief legal officer to explain the evidence issues by November 16. The potential fallout from this revelation could impact Google’s standing in the ongoing legal battle and shake industry trust in the tech giant.
The escalating drama in the Epic v. Google legal battle has thrown the tech industry into turmoil as allegations of evidence destruction continue to unfold. The focus on potential malfeasance by Google employees, including high-ranking executives, has created a cloud of uncertainty around the company’s practices and integrity.
The heart of the matter lies in Epic’s assertion that Google may have deliberately deleted or hidden crucial evidence related to the app store monopoly case. The trial, which initially revolved around Google’s Play Store and its alleged monopolistic practices, has now taken a detour into the realm of corporate accountability and transparency.
As the trial progressed, Epic’s legal team relentlessly pursued Google executives over the scarcity of provided chatlogs, pointing to the possibility of deleted conversations and efforts to keep discussions off the record. Revelations about Google’s chat system, allowing employees to prevent chat history from being saved, added fuel to the fire. The suspicion grew as it became apparent that Google employees continued using this tool even after a legal hold was imposed following the Fortnite lawsuit against Apple.
Purnima Kochikar, Google Play’s VP of Apps and Games, acknowledged default settings for deleting chats every 24 hours, further raising eyebrows. Margaret Lam, responsible for platforms & ecosystems strategy for Android, was caught in the crossfire as messages revealed her requests to turn off chat history due to legal sensitivities.
The courtroom drama reached its zenith when Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, admitted to not saving his chats, allowing them to auto-delete after 24 hours. The trial showcased evidence of Pichai requesting chat history to be turned off, with claims of a glitch when attempting to delete that message.
Epic’s strategy aims to convince the jury that Google’s actions suggest a deliberate attempt to hide or delete evidence, casting a shadow over the company’s credibility. The potential fallout from this revelation extends beyond the courtroom, with the judge expressing clear frustration and demanding an explanation from Google’s chief legal officer by November 16.
Should the judge decide to instruct the jury to approach Google’s testimony with skepticism, it could significantly impact the ongoing legal proceedings. The unfolding events not only put Google’s standing in the legal battle at risk but also raise broader questions about the tech industry’s transparency and accountability standards. The repercussions of this case may resonate far beyond the courtroom, affecting how the industry and the public perceive corporate practices in the ever-evolving landscape of technology.