Google has reached a settlement to pay $700 million and make additional compromises in response to accusations of anti-competitive behavior towards its Android app store. This is the same matter that is currently being litigated in another case, which may lead to more significant alterations.
Google made a deal with state attorneys general in September, but the details of the settlement were not disclosed until documents were filed in San Francisco federal court on Monday. This came after a federal court jury found Google guilty of using anti-competitive methods in its Play Store for Android apps.
The agreement with the states involves a payment of $630 million to reimburse American consumers who were directed to use a payment processing system that state attorneys general claimed caused an increase in prices for digital transactions made through apps downloaded from the Play Store. This store serves the Android software, which is utilized by the majority of smartphones globally.
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The implications of the Google antitrust ruling for the company and its Android users at 03:45.
More payment choices
App developers for Android will now have the ability to provide different payment options for users, rather than being restricted to the Play Store’s automatic processing and commission system. This will also allow apps to advertise discounted prices for users who opt for a payment method other than the Play Store’s processing.
The Attorney General of Washington D.C., Brian Schwalb, celebrated the settlement as a win for the millions of Americans who use Android phones to organize their lives. Schwalb stated, “Google’s unfair business tactics in app distribution have limited choices for Android users and caused them to pay higher prices.”
Wilson White, the vice president of government affairs and public policy at Google, portrayed the agreement as a beneficial outcome for the company, despite the financial and compromising aspects involved. In a blog post, White expressed that the settlement “enhances Android’s options and adaptability, upholds robust security measures, and preserves Google’s capacity to rival other software producers and invest in the Android network for users and developers.”
Even though state attorneys general praised the agreement as a significant victory for customers, it did not meet the expectations of Epic Games. The company led the charge against Google’s app store policies by initiating an antitrust lawsuit in August 2020.
Epic remains undaunted by the ruling against Apple.
In September, Epic, the creator of the highly acclaimed game Fortnite, rejected the proposed settlement and opted to go to trial, despite already facing defeat on the majority of its main arguments in a previous trial against Apple and its App Store for iPhone in 2021.
However, the Apple case was ruled by a federal judge rather than the jury that found Epic innocent with a unanimous decision that Google had created unfair obstacles for competition within the Play Store. Google has stated their intention to challenge the ruling.
However, the result of the trial still brings up the possibility of Google potentially being required to pay additional penalties for its previous actions and implementing more significant alterations to its profitable Android application platform.
Next year, U.S. District Judge James Donato, who oversaw the Epic Games trial, will determine the changes. Donato also needs to approve the settlement between Google and the states regarding the Play Store.
Google is currently facing a significant legal challenge in a separate antitrust case that focuses on its dominant search engine, which is a key component of its digital advertising empire that brings in over $200 billion in revenue each year. The trial, which pits Google against the Justice Department, is set to conclude with closing arguments in early May before a federal judge in Washington D.C.