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Google to pay $90 million to settle antitrust lawsuit from app developers over Google Play monopoly | Tech News | Startups News

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with app developers over alleged anti-competitive behavior regarding Google’s App Store policies and also for enticing users to make in-app purchases, a court filing shows.

The ruling is a major win for US app developers over the money they earned creating apps for Android smartphones in the Google Play store. According to a statement from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, who represented the plaintiffs, about 48,000 US app developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play between 2016 and 2021 will be eligible for a share in the $90 million fund, with a minimum payout of $250.

“Under the settlement agreement we’ve built, some class members will likely see payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, upwards of $200,000 or more,” Berman said.

In a filing at the federal court in San Francisco, the lawsuit states that “Google improperly attained and maintained a monopoly in the U.S. market for Android OS distribution services and in-app product transaction services, and used its power to prevent competition that would benefit all Android app developers.”

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The US app developers also accused Google of using agreements with smartphone makers, technical barriers, and revenue sharing agreements to effectively close the app ecosystem and shunt most payments through its Google Play billing system with a default service fee of 30%.

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In a blog post, Google also said that, “As part of the settlement, we’re establishing a $90 million fund to support U.S. developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play during each year from 2016-2021. A vast majority of U.S. developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose. If the Court approves the settlement, developers that qualify will be notified and allowed to receive a distribution from the fund.”

“Today, nearly 48,000 hardworking app developers are receiving the just payment they deserve for their work product – something Google sought to profit from, hand over fist,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman and attorney representing the Android developers in the settlement. “Following our win against Apple for similar conduct, we think this pair of settlements sends a strong message to Big Tech: the law is watching, and even the most powerful companies in the world are accountable when they stifle competition.”

Berman is not a stranger to the tech community and the power of the big tech. In his 41-year legal career, Berman has achieved monumental victories against Big Tech. He also served as co-lead interim class counsel in the lawsuit against Google.

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He previously championed a $560 million collective settlement against Apple and book publishers regarding e-book price-fixing, a $100 million settlement against Apple on behalf of iOS app developers, and his firm has pending litigation against Facebook, Amazon and many more Big Tech kingpins for issues related to antitrust and consumer rights.

Meanwhile, since its inception in 1998, Google has been involved in several lawsuits over issues such as privacy, advertising, intellectual property, and various Google services such as Google Books and YouTube. The tech giant’s legal department has also expanded from one to nearly 100 lawyers in the first five years of business, and by 2014 had grown to around 400 lawyers.

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