Google to pay $700 million to US consumers, states in Play store settlement

Google to pay $700 million to US consumers, states in Play store settlement

(369News)- According to the business and files filed in San Francisco federal court on Monday, Google, which is a division of Alphabet, will pay $700 million and reform its Play app store to allow better competition as part of an antitrust settlement with U.S. states and consumers.

Final approval from a court is still pending, but the deal calls for Google to pay $630 million to a consumer fund and $70 million to a state fund.

The settlement announced a minimum of $2 and potentially more reimbursements, depending on Google Play purchases made by qualifying customers between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023.

All fifty states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, joined the settlement.

Unlawful limits on app distribution on Android devices and needless fees for in-app purchases led to accusations that Google overcharged users. The organization denied any wrongdoing.

Google kept the specifics of the deal hidden before their trial with Epic Games, creators of “Fortnite.” In September, attorneys for the states and consumers disclosed the settlement. Just last week, a federal jury in California agreed with Epic that some aspects of Google’s app business constituted anticompetitive practices.

A statement from Google’s VP of government affairs and public policy, Wilson White, stated that the settlement “builds on Android’s choice and flexibility, maintains strong security protections, and retains Google’s ability to compete with other (operating system) makers and invest in the Android ecosystem for users and developers.”

According to the business, it is now easier for app and game developers to provide users with a paying option that is separate from Play’s for in-app purchases. Google announced that it has been testing “choice billing” for over a year in the United States.

Google promised to make it easier for people to download apps from developers as part of the deal.

In terms of state coalition leadership, we have California, NC, NY, TN, and Utah. The court document from Monday stated that state officials spent several hours discussing the deal.

“The changes Google is required to adopt will result in more innovation among app developers and lower prices for consumers, and that was always our number one goal,” Democratic North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told Reuters on Tuesday.

“No other U.S. antitrust enforcer has yet been able to secure remedies of this magnitude from Google” or another large digital platform, according to the states’ attorneys.

Epic sought an injunction rather than monetary damages in its lawsuit, and next year, the business is anticipated to provide its own proposal to U.S. District Judge James Donato, who is overseeing the lawsuits, on possible alterations to the Google Play Store.

Corie Wright, head of public policy at Epic, said in a statement that the states’ deal “did not address the core of Google’s unlawful and anticompetitive behavior.”

According to Wright, Epic will take a strong stance in the next trial phase “to truly open up the Android ecosystem.”

If the states had stayed in the fight a few weeks longer, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s post on X suggests they may have been awarded a higher sum of damages.

Other cases are threatening to derail Google’s search and digital advertising strategies. It has not disputed any misconduct in such situations.

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