Sunday, February 25

Google to pay $700 million to US consumers, states in Play store settlement

Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google will pay $700 million and revamp its Play app store to allow for greater competition as part of an antitrust settlement with U.S. states and consumers, according to the company and filings in San Francisco federal court on Monday.

Google will pay $630 million into a settlement fund for consumers and $70 million into a fund that will be used by states, according to the settlement, which still requires a judge’s final approval.

The settlement said eligible consumers will receive at least $2 and may get additional payments based on their spending on Google Play between Aug. 16, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2023.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, joined the settlement.

Google was accused of overcharging consumers through unlawful restrictions on the distribution of apps on Android devices and unnecessary fees for in-app transactions. It did not admit wrongdoing.

Attorneys for the states and consumers announced the settlement in September, but the terms were kept confidential ahead of Google’s related trial with “Fortnite” maker Epic Games. A California federal jury last week agreed with Epic that parts of Google’s app business were anticompetitive.

Wilson White, Google vice president for government affairs and public policy, in a statement said the settlement “builds on Android’s choice and flexibility, maintains strong security protections, and retains Google’s ability to compete with other (operating system) makers, and invest in the Android ecosystem for users and developers.” – Reuters

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