Google to Pay $700M Settlement Over Its Play Store Practices

Of the total, Google will pay $630M to certain consumers who made purchases in its app store, an amount equal to at least about $2 per eligible consumer.

people walking in front of big Google Cloud logo on wall
(Image credit: Cesc Maymo/Getty Images)

Google recently released details of a $700 million settlement agreement that it reached with multiple state attorneys general earlier this year over alleged antitrust violations concerning its U.S. Play app store.

Of the $700 million total, the company has agreed to pay $630 million into a settlement fund for consumers — an amount equal to at least $2 per eligible consumer, who may get more based on their spending in the app store from August 16, 2016 to September 30, 2023, according to the agreement.

The tech giant is to pay the remaining $70 million into a fund that will be used by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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In addition, Google agreed to simplify the ability of consumers to download apps directly from developers, according to a December 19 Reuters report. The company was accused of overcharging consumers in the app store through “unlawful restrictions on the distribution of apps on Android devices and unnecessary fees for in-app transactions,” Reuters said in the report.

Google, which released the details of the settlement yesterday (December 18), did not admit to any wrongdoing.

District of Columbia Attorney General (AG) Brian Schwalb, who along with a group of 52 other AGs brought the case against Google, called the settlement "a significant win" for tens of millions of Android users nationwide. "For far too long, Google’s anticompetitive practices in the distribution of apps deprived Android users of choices and forced them to pay artificially elevated prices,” he said.

Wilson White, Google vice president of government affairs and public policy, said in a statement that the company is pleased to reach an agreement. "We look forward to making these improvements that will help evolve Android and Google Play for the benefit of millions of developers and billions of people around the world,” he said.

Who's eligible for a payout?

The total number of consumers involved in the settlement is about 102 million, and at least about 70% of these are expected to receive funds, according to the agreement.

Eligible consumers include any individuals with a legal address in one of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands at the time they purchased an app or made an in-app purchase in the Google Play app store and used Google Play Billing from August 16, 2016 through September 30, 2023.

How do you submit a claim?

According to the settlement agreement, eligible consumers will collect damages directly via automated payments and will not be required to submit a claim. The distribution of funds can commence within 10 days of the court granting final approval of the settlement.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.