Google Agrees to $700 Million Settlement in App Store Antitrust Case


Google Agrees to $700 Million Settlement in App Store Antitrust Case
© Getty Images News/Sean Gallup

Google has agreed to a landmark $700 million settlement in an antitrust case involving its Play app store. The agreement, filed in federal court on Monday, marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate over app store policies and competition in the tech industry.

This settlement addresses allegations that Google's app store terms and fees stifled competition and unfairly impacted consumers and independent software developers. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately 102 million US consumers will be eligible to receive a total of $630 million in compensation.

The remaining $70 million will be paid to the dozens of states that participated in the lawsuit. Notably, around 71.4 million affected consumers will not need to file a claim to benefit from the agreement, signifying a broad impact of the settlement.

Implications for Google and the Tech Industry

The settlement could reshape Google’s approach to its app store business amid heightened scrutiny of its dominance in Android app distribution. This development follows a federal jury's decision last week, declaring Google's app marketplace an illegal monopoly, a verdict stemming from a protracted legal battle with Epic Games, the maker of “Fortnite”.

Google is currently challenging this decision.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a key figure in the lawsuit, stated, “No company, no matter how large or powerful, is allowed to corner a market and use its influence to overcharge consumers and smother competition”.

She emphasized that Google's practices had long abused its market share to unfairly raise prices and block developers from other app stores.

Responding to the settlement, Google expressed satisfaction in resolving the lawsuit brought by a group of attorneys general from various states, including California, Florida, Utah, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Wilson White, Google’s VP of government affairs and public policy, highlighted that Android and Google Play have evolved to offer more flexibility and choice, maintaining strong security protections and Google's ability to compete in the OS market.

Epic Games' Response and the Road Ahead

However, Epic Games viewed the settlement as insufficient, labeling it as weak. Corie Wright, Epic’s vice president of public policy, criticized the settlement for not addressing the core of Google’s alleged unlawful and anticompetitive behavior.

Epic Games, initially seeking $10.5 billion in antitrust damages, plans to pursue more substantial penalties in the ongoing legal confrontation.