The CEO of Alphabet admits during the Play Store test that certain elements were not r-Boursorama

(Added comments from Alphabet CEO in paragraphs 7 and 13) by Greg Bensinger

Alphabet GOOGL.O chief Sundar Pichai admitted in federal court on Tuesday that he sometimes marked documents as “privileged” and never disabled a setting that caused internal chats to be automatically deleted at the end of a day.

Pichai was in court in San Francisco to defend Alphabet’s Google against a lawsuit filed by Epic Games that alleges its App Store policies amounted to an illegal monopoly and caused consumers to pay artificially high prices.

Lawyers for Epic Games, the creator of the hugely popular game “Fortnite,” were apparently trying to establish that Mr. Pichai and Google were hiding confidential communications that could be used against them in a possible lawsuit.

Jurors were shown an internal Google document reminding staff that “anything you write can be subject to criminal review”, as well as one of M’s chat histories. .Pichai, in which he requested that the history be deactivated, which meant that the messages would be deleted.

“I supported all of the recommendations made by our legal and compliance team,” Mr. Pichai said during about an hour of testimony led by Epic’s attorney. He stuck to one-word answers, but was sometimes reprimanded by Epic Games’ lawyer for deviating from simple answers.

Mr. Pichai, interviewed by a Google lawyer, denied ever trying to hide a document from a trial. He said he used the term “privileged” in the documents to indicate that they were “confidential” and not necessarily covered by professional secrecy.

However, when asked by the judge, he acknowledged that since 2008, Google has largely left it up to employees to decide whether their conversations could be relevant to litigation. He clarified that this policy had recently been revised.

In its lawsuit, Epic Games claims that the App Store policies constitute an illegal monopoly and cause consumers to pay artificially high prices. The company wants to give Google Play users easier access to third-party app stores and additional payment processors for in-app purchases.

Google, in turn, said changing its systems would make the Android app store less secure and hurt its ability to compete with Apple AAPL.O . Epic’s similar lawsuit against Apple ended with a ruling largely in Apple’s favor – both companies appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Epic filed a lawsuit against Google in 2020 after it removed “Fortnite” from the App Store after the Cary, North Carolina company allowed customers to pay directly for it, bypassing the company’s payment systems.

If jurors agree with Epic, it could radically transform the App Store market, where Google and Apple have exclusive control over the apps made available to consumers and cut about 30% of in-app and paid purchases.

Google has settled disputes over its App Store with dating app maker Match Group MTCH.O as well as with consumers and U.S. states. Google also faces a competition lawsuit over U.S. government claims about its dominance in search and is expected to defend itself in a trial next year over its digital advertising policies.

Separately, Mr. Pichai confirmed that Google will pay Apple 36% of revenue from searches on iOS to become the default search engine, a figure revealed on Monday as part of the antitrust trial against Google currently taking place in federal court in Washington.

The payments made to Apple are at the heart of the Justice Department’s argument.


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