Google Will Pay Consumers and U.S. States $700 Million to Settle App Store Lawsuit





Google Play

Google will pay $700 million to consumers and U.S. states to settle a lawsuit alleging that it had stamped out competition against its Google Play app store. The company will also open make it easier to download apps from other stores on its Android operating system, a potential boon to cord cutters used to sideloading apps.

News of the settlement broke in September, but additional details on the monetary payment and concessions were released until late Monday, according to the Associated Press. Various state attorneys general issued their own statements on the settlement on Tuesday.

The settlement caps off legal action brought by more than 30 U.S. states representing 21 million consumers. As part of the settlement, Google will pay $630 million directly to consumers, with individuals getting at least $2, and possibly more depending on their purchases between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023.

“Today’s settlement is a loud and clear message to Big Tech—attorneys general across the country are unified, and we are prepared to use the full weight of our collective authority to ensure free and fair access to the digital marketplace,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

The state AGs accused Google of using its powers to stifle any alternative app stores, insuring the company was able to keep charging app store commission ranging between 15% and 30%. The AGs argued that those commissions artificially raised prices on apps, hurting consumers.

The terms of the settlement comes as Google suffered a defeat in a separate, but related case in which Fortnite-maker Epic accused Google of the same anti-competitive behavior. Google is awaiting a judge’s decision on what the penalty will be.

Google has said it will appeal the Epic decision. But on Monday, it issued a statement affirming its “commitment to app store choice,” and following the concessions made in the settlement, will let consumers more easily download and install Android apps from other outlets for the next five years. It will also stop issuing security warnings, which the AGs argued deterred people from sideloading apps.

“This settlement builds on Android’s choice and flexibility, maintains strong security protections, and retains Google’s ability to compete with other OS makers, and invest in the Android ecosystem for users and developers,” the company said. A spokesman wasn’t immediately available to comment on the $700 million sum.

The additional $70 million on the settlement will go to cover the penalties and other costs to the states.

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