Oregon – More than 50 state lawyers have agreed on a $700 million deal with Google due to issues with how Google Play Store was managed for several years in the past.
“Every company is required to play by the rules, from the smallest of mom-and-pop shops to the biggest brands on the planet, and this settlement demonstrates that principle as clear as day,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement that was echoed by others.
“As a result of this agreement, people who were harmed by these practices will be reimbursed, and Google will stop its anticompetitive practices. I will always fight to protect competition to keep prices lower and foster innovation,” said Attorney General Josh Stein, who is running for governor in North Carolina, said in a statement.
In 2021, state attorneys sued Google, accusing it of dominating the market for Android app distribution and its payment methods. The lawsuit claimed Google prevented competitors from having their apps pre-installed on Android devices by signing exclusive deals and buying potential rival app developers. It also argued that Google set up technical hurdles that made it hard for users to download other apps on Android devices.
According to the settlement, Google will pay $630 million to those who made purchases in the Google Play Store from August 2016 to September 2023. Additionally, Google will pay $70 million to the states.
People who are entitled to a payment from Google don’t need to file a claim. They will receive automatic payments through PayPal or Venmo, or they can opt for a check or ACH transfer. Stein’s office will provide further details on how to receive the payment later.
This settlement involves more than just financial compensation. Google, which reached a $1 trillion value in 2020, must also alter its business conduct. Some of these changes include:
- Letting developers guide users to different billing systems outside of Google, where they can offer lower prices, for the next five years at least.
- Avoiding agreements that require the Google Play Store to be the only app store pre-installed on a device or on the Home Screen, also for a minimum of five years.
- Providing regular reports on compliance for at least the next five years to an independent monitor, who will check that Google isn’t returning to unfair competitive practices.
Click here to read a copy of the settlement and the rest of the reforms Google is required to make.