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Google to pay $700 million in antitrust settlement against US state attorneys

Google has agreed to pay $700 million in an antitrust settlement with US state attorney generals.

As reported by The Verge, the case was settled in September and the details have now been made public, including changes being made to its Play store.

The antitrust case was first brought forward in July 2021, where it was argued that Google was unlawfully maintaining a monopoly on Android devices with its Play store.

The settlement dictates that Google must make several changes to how the Play store operates, primarily around enabling developers to use payment options that do not require Google’s own billing system, which entitles the company to a 30% cut of all transactions.

Among the changes being made to Google Play, Google will allow alternative pricing promotions and billing options over the next five years, as well as making users aware of competing prices on other apps.

Third-party apps will be allowed to be installed on other stores for seven years, and Google will let some apps like Netflix inform users of better prices without linking to an external website.

Google also plans to streamline sideloading for developers, letting third-party stores use API for assistance.

As stated in the settlement, Google will pay $629 million to consumers that were victim to overpaying for apps and in-app purchases after taxes. $70 million will go to the 50 state attorneys general included in the lawsuit, and $1 million for administration charges.

“Today, the details of a settlement reached in September with state attorneys general were filed publicly,” said Wilson White, Google’s VP of government affairs and public policy.

“The settlement builds on Android’s choice and flexibility, maintains strong security protections, and retains Google’s ability to compete with other OS makers, and invest in the Android ecosystem for users and developers.”

Last week, Google lost its antitrust trial against Epic Games in which a jury deemed Google Play to be an illegal monopoly. Google plans to challenge the verdict.

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