Millions Are About to Receive Some Cash From Google

Company agrees to $700M settlement with consumers, states on high fees for app developers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2023 9:09 AM CST
Google Is About to Pay Out Big Bucks in Antitrust Suit
Google's logo is displayed on its headquarters in Mountain View, California, on Jan. 3, 2013.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

More than 100 million consumers are eligible to receive funds from Google as part of an antitrust payout worth $700 million over fees Google charged in its app store. Per settlement terms released Monday, the tech giant will deposit $630 million into a fund that will dole out compensation to about 102 million customers in all 50 states, as well as DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, reports the Washington Post. According to the settlement, which was reached in September and is just being reported on now, Google will place an additional $70 million into a separate fund that the states can use to take care of related claims.

The court filing notes that about 70 million consumers, or more than 71% of those covered by the settlement, won't even have to fill out any paperwork to receive their fair share from the suit, which was filed in July 2021—they'll be paid automatically. Eligible consumers must have made an in-app purchase or bought an app on Google Play between Aug. 16, 2016, and Sept. 30 of this year. The AP explains that the commissions Google collects from app developers can range from 15% to 30%, which in turn leads to higher prices for consumers than if there were more competition for payment processing services, the states' attorneys general contend. The settlement also includes an agreement from Google to allow app developers to let users pay using a third-party processing system instead of Google's.

"We brought this lawsuit because it is illegal to use monopoly power to drive up prices and limit consumer choice," Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement, per the Post. Google, for its part, seems to be taking the development in stride. "We're pleased to resolve our case with the states and move forward on a settlement that includes ... growing our commitment to app store choice," among other improvements, Wilson White, the company's VP for government affairs and public policy, wrote Monday in a blog post. The deal still has to get the green light from US District Judge James Donato. Don't have time to read the entire settlement ruling? The Verge has the TL;DR version. (More Google stories.)

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