Google Will Pay $90M To Settle Anticompetitive Lawsuit, Build Indie Corner

Google will pay $90 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with U.S. application developers over alleged anticompetitive behavior in the Google Play Store -- and build an Indie Apps Corner to showcase independent and small startup developers building unique high-quality apps.

The Indie Apps Corner will appear in the apps tab on the U.S. Google Play home page and shine a spotlight on these developers.

As part of the settlement, attorneys alleged Google excluded competing app stores from its platform and charged app developers with massive fees.

Law firm Hagens Berman announced the settlement Thursday. They were one of the first to file a class case. The firm also was one of four that secured a $100 million settlement from Apple in 2021 for U.S. iOS developers.

The Android app community helped to create nearly two million American jobs. Developers worldwide earned more than $120 billion using the Google Play Store, Wilson White, vice president of government affairs and public policy at Google, wrote in a post. 

As part of the settlement, Google will establish a $90 million fund to support U.S. developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play during each year from 2016 through 2021.

“A vast majority of U.S. developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose,” White wrote. “If the court approves the settlement, developers that qualify will be notified and allowed to receive a distribution from the fund.”

White also described a commitment by Google to maintain several existing practices and implement new benefits to help developers innovate and communicate with users.

The commitment includes providing developers with a tiered pricing model. Google will maintain a 15% commission rate for the first $1 million in annual revenue earned from the Google Play Store for U.S. developers, which we implemented in 2021.

Google also revised its Developer Distribution Agreement to make it clear that developers can continue to use contact information gained in-app to communicate with users out-of-apps, including about subscription offers or lower-cost offerings on a rival app store or the developer’s website.

As part of the agreement, Google, in following versions of Android, Google will implement in Android 12 features that make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices.


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