Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, has reached a $700 million settlement in an antitrust lawsuit linked to charges on its app store, agreeing to compensate millions of American users and open up space for increased competition in the Google Play app store.
As part of the antitrust settlement with US states and consumers, Google will pay $630 million to millions of people across various US states, with an additional $70 million allocated to a fund. Over 100 million consumers across the United States, spanning all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are eligible for compensation from Google, according to the Washington Post.
Although the antitrust settlement was reached in September, it is now being reported, pending final approval from a judge.
Under the terms of the lawsuit, more than 70 million consumers won’t need to fill out any paperwork to receive their share of compensation from Google, as it will be automatically paid to them. Eligible consumers are those who made in-app purchases and purchased apps on Google Play between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023.
The lead plaintiff, Utah, and other states announced the settlement in September, keeping the terms confidential until after Google’s trial with Epic Games, the maker of “Fortnite.” A California federal jury recently sided with Epic, agreeing that certain aspects of Google’s app business were anticompetitive.
Google faces accusations of overcharging consumers through in-app purchases and imposing restrictions on the Android app store. While denying any wrongdoing, Google admitted to piloting “choice billing” in the US, offering consumers an alternative to the Play Store’s billing system for in-app purchases.
Additionally, Google was accused of using anti-competitive tactics to stifle competition and compel developers to use Google Play, reducing reliance on other platforms. Despite these allegations, Google has not admitted to any wrongdoing in this case.