Millions of Americans Set to Receive Cash as Google Agrees to $700 Million Settlement in Antitrust Suit

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Google, under its parent company Alphabet Inc., has reached a $700 million settlement in an antitrust lawsuit related to charges on the Google Play app store. The settlement aims to compensate millions of American users and foster greater competition in the app store market.

The Antitrust Settlement

In the recently disclosed antitrust settlement, Google is obligated to pay $630 million to consumers across US states, with an additional $70 million allocated to a fund. Over 100 million users across all 50 states, including DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are eligible for compensation.

Eligibility and Compensation Process

Consumers eligible for compensation are those who made in-app purchases or bought apps on Google Play between August 16, 2016, and September 30, 2023. Notably, more than 70 million consumers won’t need to fill out paperwork; their compensation will be automatically processed.

Legal Background and Final Approval

The antitrust settlement was initially reached in September but required confidentiality until now. However, the final approval from a judge is still pending. The terms of the lawsuit were kept under wraps ahead of Google’s trial with Epic Games, where a California federal jury recently found aspects of Google’s app business to be anticompetitive.

Accusations Against Google

Google faced allegations of overcharging consumers through in-app purchases and imposing restrictions on the Android app store. Despite the accusations, Google admitted no wrongdoing. The company introduced “choice billing” in the US as an alternative for in-app purchases, providing consumers with options beyond the Play Store’s billing system.

Anti-competitive Practices

In addition to overcharging, Google was accused of using anti-competitive tactics to stifle competition and force developers to exclusively use Google Play. This strategy aimed to reduce reliance on alternative platforms for reaching consumers.

Winding it up

While Google’s $700 million settlement addresses accusations of overcharging and anti-competitive practices, the final verdict is pending court approval. The compensation reflects a significant step toward rectifying alleged wrongs and promoting fair competition in the app store industry.