FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM – Attorney General Raúl Torrez and a bipartisan group of 52 other attorneys general today announced a $700 million agreement with Google in their lawsuit about Google’s anticompetitive conduct with the Google Play Store.
The attorneys general sued Google in 2021 alleging that Google unlawfully monopolized the market Android app distribution and in-app payment processing. The States claimed that Google signed anticompetitive contracts to prevent other app stores from being preloaded on Android devices, bought off key app developers who might have launched rival app stores, and created technological barriers to deter consumers from directly downloading apps to their devices. The states announced a settlement in principle on September 5, 2023, and released the finalized terms of that deal earlier this week.
Google will pay $630 million in restitution, minus costs and fees, to consumers who made purchases on the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023 and were harmed by Google’s anticompetitive practices. Google will pay the states an additional $70 million for their sovereign claims.
“Large corporations often believe they’re untouchable, or that the rules don’t apply to them – this lawsuit and the resulting agreement clearly shows that this isn’t the case,” said AG Torrez. “In an ever-evolving, technologically advanced world, my office will continue to hold companies accountable and ensure they abide by fair business practices.”
The settlement requires Google to reform its business practices in the following ways:
- All developers will have the ability to receive payments through in-app billing other than Google Play Billing for at least five years.
- Developers can offer cheaper prices for their apps and in-app products for consumers who use non-Google billing systems for at least five years.
- Permit developers to steer consumers toward alternative, non-Google billing systems by advertising cheaper prices within their apps themselves for at least five years.
- Not enter contracts that require the Play Store to be the exclusive, pre-loaded app store on a device or home screen for at least five years.
- Allow the installation of third-party apps on Android phones from outside the Google Play Store for at least seven years.
- Revise and reduce the warnings that appear on an Android device if a user attempts to download a third-party app from outside the Google Play Store for at least five years.
- Maintain Android system support for third-party app stores, including automatic updates, for four years.
- Not require developers to launch their app catalogs on the Play Store at the same time as they launch on other app stores for at least four years.
- Submit compliance reports to an independent monitor who will ensure that Google is not continuing its anticompetitive conduct for at least five years.
This lawsuit was led by the Attorneys General from North Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, New York, and California, and joined by the attorneys general of all remaining states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Those eligible for restitution do not have to submit a claim. Automatic payments will be submitted through PayPal, Venmo, check or ACH, if they elect. More details about this process will be forthcoming.
A copy of the settlement is available below: