Google has agreed to a substantial $700 million settlement in response to a lawsuit brought by several U.S. states.
The suit accused the tech giant of monopolizing its Play Store, leading to inflated prices for paid applications. This significant legal development was announced on Monday.
Google agrees to $700M settlement in consumer lawsuit
Under the settlement terms, which are still pending final court approval, Google will pay $630 million into a consumer fund and an additional $70 million to a fund managed by the states involved in the lawsuit.
The agreement will benefit approximately 102 million consumers across 50 states, eligible to receive a minimum of $2 each.
These payments may increase depending on individual spending on the Google Play Store between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023.
Changes in Google Play’s billing system announced
To address concerns raised in the lawsuit, Google announced changes to its Play Store’s billing system.
The company stated that app and game developers would now have the option to include an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s existing one for U.S. users.
Google expands user choice billing, responding to competition, feedback
Wilson White, Google’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy, mentioned that Google has been trialing user choice billing in the U.S. for over a year and plans to expand this option.
“Android and Google Play have continuously evolved to provide more flexibility and choice in response to feedback from developers and regulators, as well as intense competition from Apple and app stores across the open Android ecosystem,” Mr. White said in a blog post.
Google faces Epic Games lawsuit amid other legal challenges
Despite the settlement, Google continues to face legal challenges, including a lawsuit from “Fortnite” developer Epic Games.
The company has consistently denied any wrongdoing in its practices. New York Attorney General Letitia James emphasized the importance of the lawsuit, stating, “No company is too big to play by the rules, including Google.”
Verdict against Google’s android app monopoly: Epic Games triumphs
A recent verdict by a California federal jury found in favor of Epic Games, ruling that Google holds a monopoly in Android app distribution and in-app billing services.
Epic Games hailed the verdict as a win for developers and consumers worldwide. “Today’s verdict is a win for all app developers and consumers around the world,” Epic stated.
Epic sued for changes to Google’s Play Store policies rather than monetary damages and is expected to propose potential modifications next year.
Lawsuit’s broader implications for Tech regulation
The lawsuit and subsequent verdict have brought to light the need for broader legislation and regulations in the tech industry.
Epic Games has argued that Google’s practices, such as imposing a 30 percent tax on developers, highlight the urgent need for regulatory action against tech monopolies.
Google plans to appeal the verdict, with Mr. White stating that the company remains committed to improving Android and Google Play.