HomeWinBuzzer NewsGoogle Strikes $700 Million Settlement with States over Play Store Antitrust Concerns

Google Strikes $700 Million Settlement with States over Play Store Antitrust Concerns

Google settles US antitrust lawsuit for $700M, eases app sideloading and allows alternate billing on Play Store.

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has settled an antitrust lawsuit with the attorney generals from all 50 US states in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. As part of the agreement, the tech giant will pay $700 million, with the majority—$630 million—allocated to a fund benefiting consumers in accordance with a Court-approved plan. The remaining $70 million will bolster a fund for state use.

In September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) initiated a civil antitrust lawsuit against  in October 2020, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing search and search advertising.

This was followed by a separate complaint from the attorneys general of 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. These cases later merged into one. The trial is set to scrutinize Google's “exclusive dealing arrangements” with companies like and Samsung and its practice of pre-installing its services on  devices.

Policy Changes Unveiled

In the wake of the settlement, Google introduced changes to its Play Store operations. One significant amendment simplifies the sideloading process, the method by which users install apps on devices via sources other than the Play Store. Google pledged to provide clear guidance about the risks associated with sideloading to first-time users downloading apps from the Internet.

Moreover, Google is advocating for greater developer autonomy by permitting the inclusion of an alternate billing option in conjunction with Google's billing system for apps targeting U.S. consumers. Consequently, app developers will have the liberty to present different pricing options within their applications, thus introducing a paradigm shift in in-app purchasing practices.

Competition and Safety Balancing Act

In its public statements, Google emphasized the importance of sustaining choice and flexibility within the Android ecosystem while maintaining robust security measures. The company expressed contentment in reaching a resolution and anticipation of the Court's approval for the enacted changes. The alterations and the financial settlement, however, are pending judicial endorsement before taking full effect.

The disclosure of Google's settlement details emerges shortly after a defeat in a separate legal battle with Epic Games. A jury sided with Epic Games in their case, affirming allegations that Google's Play Store exercises an illegal monopoly on the Android platform. Google intends to appeal the verdict.

The settlement and the juridical decision signal significant implications for Google's operations and the broader mobile software market, stirring discussions about market practices and . The outcomes of these legal proceedings will likely influence the future of app store dynamics and developer autonomy across the .

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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