Google has consented to a $700 million settlement to resolve antitrust allegations brought forth by U.S. states and consumers. As part of the agreement, which awaits judicial confirmation, Google will allocate $630 million to a consumer reimbursement fund and $70 million to assist states. The arrangement ensures a minimum payment of $2 to eligible consumers, with potential additional reimbursements based on historical Google Play expenditures. The lawsuit, joined by all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, accused Google of imposing unjust fees and restrictions on Android app distribution. Despite the allegations, Google maintains its innocence.
The settlement follows a recent jury decision supporting “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, labeling parts of Google’s app market as anti-competitive. Google asserts the settlement will enhance Android’s flexibility and security while allowing for continued competition and investment in its ecosystem. It also introduces more accessible direct app downloads and offers developers alternative billing options.
State attorneys commend the settlement for promising substantial and enduring consumer benefits, marking a significant achievement in U.S. antitrust efforts against a major digital platform. Meanwhile, Epic plans to propose further modifications to Google’s Play store, criticizing the settlement for endorsing Google’s allegedly unfair practices. Amidst these developments, Google continues to face legal scrutiny over its search and digital advertising operations, denying all allegations of misconduct.