Google said today it will pay $700 million — $630 million to U.S. consumers and $70 to a fund used by U.S. states — in a settlement over Play Store reached in September.
In September, the company reached a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by U.S. states and consumers originally filed in 2021.
The complaint highlighted Google’s monopoly over app distribution on Android through the Play Store.
In November 2022, Google started a pilot of its user choice billing program in the U.S., which allowed developers to use alternative payment methods for in-app purchases. Today, the company said it will expand the program in the country as part of the settlement. Google
said that developers will be able to show different costs of a purchase in the app based on the billing method chosen by the customer.
The company also said that it would make the sideloading process streamlined without giving any further details about the new process. However, it emphasized that the company will alter messaging around sideloading.
“While we maintain it is critical to our safety efforts to inform users that sideloading on mobile could come with unique risks, as part of our settlement we will be further simplifying the sideloading process and updating the language that informs users about these potential risks of downloading apps directly from the web for the first time,” said Wilson White, VP, Government Affairs & Public Policy at Google.
Google pointed out in its blog post that Android 14, also made the app upgrade process easier with more controls for third-party app stores via an API.
This development at the time Google lost its antitrust battle with Epic. Google plans to appeal the verdict and reiterated in today’s blog post that it “didn’t recognize the choice and competition that our platforms enable” but the case is “far from over.”
The trial unearthed Google’s deals with companies like Spotify, which paid no commission on Play Store for in-app purchases.