Google To Pay $700M In Antitrust Settlement With States

In an antitrust lawsuit related to the Android app store, Google agreed to pay $700 million to settle a complaint brought by state attorneys general.

The deal, initially struck between the parties in September, did not see a formal agreement filing until late Monday in a federal court in San Francisco.

The settlement includes 50 states. It allocates a $630 million payout for U.S. consumers who used a payment system in Google’s Play Store that the state attorneys general alleged magnified prices for in-app purchases.

As a result of Google’s unlawful conduct, the states alleged in the filing, Google has been able to take "enormous sums from consumers."

When a consumer buys a paid app or in-app content, Google takes 30% of the money, and collects 30% by forcing consumers to use Google Play Billing to buy apps and in-app content by prohibiting app developers from suggesting alternative ways to purchase content.



One direct method includes the developer’s website.

Wilson White, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, wrote in a blog post that "Android and Google Play have continuously evolved to provide more flexibility and choice in response to feedback from developers and regulators," the verdict and the settlement in the recent trial did not recognize the choice and competition Google's platforms enable.

"While we are challenging that verdict and our case with Epic is far from over, we remain committed to continually improving Android and Google Play," White wrote.

The complaint also cited state-law antitrust and consumer protection claims, alleging Google has "unreasonably restrained trade and monopolized Android app distribution and payment-processing services through anticompetitive conduct."

Consumers who are eligible to receive part of the settlement will be paid automatically. Android is the operating system inside 2.5 billion active devices.

Eligible consumers will receive at least $2, and additional payments may be issued depending on their spending on Google Play from August 16, 2016 through September 30, 2023.

While the settlement still needs to be approved by the judge, Google will likely need to pay $70 million to the states in penalties and other costs, according to the court documents. 

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