Google Agrees to Pay $700 Million in Multi-State Lawsuit Settlement

In 2021, Google settled a lawsuit with 36 states and the District of Columbia by agreeing to pay a $700 million fine and make minor changes to the Play Store. Of that amount, $630 million will go to consumers who may have overpaid for apps or in-app purchases on Google Play, with the remaining $70 million being put into a fund for the states. The settlement also requires Google to allow developers to steer consumers toward sideloading to avoid Play Store fees on subscriptions. These changes will be in effect for five to seven years, after which Google may restrict access to sideloading or third-party app stores. The company will also include language allowing OEMs to provide users with options for app stores, as well as expanding user choice billing for Android apps and games. However, the settlement does not require Google to allow developers to include exterior payment links in their apps. Despite the settlement, the terms are relatively minor compared to Google’s turnover, and it does not resolve the ongoing antitrust concerns raised by Epic Games. Additionally, Google may choose to restrict access to sideloading and third-party app stores after the specified time period. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny has expressed concerns that the settlement does not address the issue of price competition and has vowed to continue fighting against the “Google tax.”