Google To Pay $700 Mln In Antitrust Play Store Settlement

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has agreed to pay $700 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a group of US states over competition concerns related to its Android App Store. The tech major also agreed to make changes to the way the Android system works, and to allow more competition in its Play app store.

Wilson White, Google VP, Government Affairs & Public Policy, in a blog post announced the details of a settlement reached in September with state attorneys general.

As per the terms of the court settlement, Google has agreed to pay $630 million into a settlement fund to be distributed for the benefit of consumers according to a Court-approved plan and $70 million into a fund that will be used by the states.

The filings said that the settlement requires Google to give all developers, including game developers, the option to add alternative in-app billing systems for at least five years.

In the statement, White said, “Android and Google Play have continuously evolved to provide more flexibility and choice in response to feedback from developers and regulators, as well as intense competition from Apple and app stores across the open Android ecosystem. We demonstrated this in the recent trial and were disappointed that the verdict did not recognize the choice and competition that our platforms enable.”

Google last week had lost a related antitrust lawsuit filed by Fortnite video game maker Epic Games regarding its Android App Store.

A federal jury in California then ruled that Google’s Android app store violated antitrust laws and was illegally protected from competition in the Android app market to secure billions of dollars in profits from its Play Store.

Millions of people around the world download and install apps from the Play store that work on smartphones powered by Google’s Android software.

The U.S. States alleged that Google’s contracts with smartphone makers, network operators and game developers affected competition to the Play Store.

Google was also accused of collecting excessive fees on digital purchases on its Play Store by preventing alternative payment methods that could offer lower fees.

Meanwhile, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, while testifying at the trial, reportedly had defended Google’s actions. Google noted that its partnerships help phones that run on the Android operating system to better compete against others like Apple’s iPhone.

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