Google has agreed to pay $700 million and offered several other concessions to nearly 102 million customers in the US as part of an antitrust payout over fees the tech giant charged through its app store. Most of that money will be given to people who purchased something through Google’s Play Store. Google also committed to changing how apps are downloaded and paid for on Android phones.

Although the tech giant struck the deal with state attorneys in September, the settlement’s terms were revealed late on Monday. As per settlement terms, Google will deposit $630 million into a fund that will dole out compensation to the US customers funnelled into a payment processing system that state attorneys general alleged drove up the prices for digital transactions within apps downloaded from the Play Store, Washington Post reported.

Google will place an additional $70 million into a separate fund that the states will use to take care of penalties and other costs, the report further said.

According to the court filing, about 70 million consumers, or more than 71% of those covered by the settlement will receive at least $2 and may get additional payments based on their spending on the Play Store between August 16, 2016 and September 30, 2023. The estimated 102 million US consumers who made in-app purchases during that time frame are supposed to be automatically notified about various options for how they can receive their cut of the money.

The tech giant also agreed to make it easier for consumers to download and install Android apps from other outlets besides its Play Store for the next five years and will refrain from issuing security warnings, or “scare screens,” when alternative choices are being used.

The settlement also includes an agreement from Google to allow app developers to let users pay using a third-party processing system instead of Google’s.

“We brought this lawsuit because it is illegal to use monopoly power to drive up prices and limit consumer choice,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement, per the Post. 

Google, for its part, seems to be taking the development in stride. “We’re pleased to resolve our case with the states and move forward on a settlement that includes … growing our commitment to app store choice,” among other improvements, Wilson White, the company’s VP for government affairs and public policy, wrote on Monday in a blog post. The deal still has to get the green light from US District Judge James Donato. 



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Published: 20 Dec 2023, 10:54 PM IST