Who is eligible for Google's $700 million settlement payout?

Tens of millions of consumers will receive compensation from Google.

December 19, 2023, 11:36 AM

Google will pay millions of U.S. consumers a combined $700 million as part of a settlement with state attorneys general over fees the tech giant charges for use of its app store.

The company will shell out $630 million to a fund that will go directly to more than 100 million consumers nationwide, according to details of a settlement that was made public late Monday. An additional $70 million will be paid into a fund for states to disburse to consumers for similar claims.

The settlement resolves a 2021 lawsuit brought against Google over the alleged abuse of its market dominance by charging exorbitant fees for app creators.

As part of the settlement, Google will allow users of its Android mobile devices to directly download apps, bypassing the Play Store altogether, Wilson White, Google Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, said in a blog post on Monday.

"This 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," White said. "We're pleased to resolve our case with the states and move forward on a settlement."

When the two sides initially reached the settlement in September, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser touted the deal as a breakthrough for consumers.

"All companies – no matter how big or powerful – cannot refuse to play by the rules, including Google. We brought this lawsuit because it is illegal to use monopoly power to drive up prices and limit consumer choice," Weiser said in a statement.

PHOTO: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, speaks during the "Innovation That Empowers" conversation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco, Nov. 16, 2023.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, speaks during the "Innovation That Empowers" conversation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco, Nov. 16, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

An estimated minimum 70% of eligible consumers, amounting to more than 71 million people, will automatically receive payments stemming from the settlement without having to file a claim, according to a court filing from the states.

The terms of the settlement define an eligible consumer as a person with a legal address in their Google payments profile in one of the U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands when they purchased an app from Google Play or made an in- app purchase through Google Play between August 2016 and September 2023.

Google faces additional antitrust challenges centered on its app store as well as other parts of its business, such as its search engine.

Earlier this month, a California court ruled against Google in a legal battle brought by Fortnite maker Epic Games that alleged the Play Store illegally abuses its market power, charging fees as high as 30%. Google said it would appeal the verdict.

"While we are challenging that verdict and our case with Epic is far from over, we remain committed to continually improving Android and Google Play," Google's Wilson White said in the blog post on Monday.

In a statement Monday, Epic Games criticized the settlement reached between the state attorneys general and Google, saying the agreement failed to address the alleged illegal conduct.

"The State Attorneys General settled with Google before trial to get a one-time payout with no true relief for consumers or developers," Epic Games said in the statement, which was provided to ABC News. "The States’ settlement does not address the core of Google’s unlawful and anticompetitive behavior."

"In the next phase of the case, Epic will seek meaningful remedies to truly open up the Android ecosystem so consumers and developers will genuinely benefit from the competition that U.S. antitrust laws were designed to promote," the company added.

The settlement of the case brought by the state attorneys general came after a two-year investigation that included over 1,000 document requests and interviews with more than 40 people affiliated with Google, according to the court filing from the states.

Settlement talks began more than a year ago and lasted hundreds of hours, the court filing said. The initial tentative agreement on a set of terms was reached over Labor Day weekend of this year, the filing added.

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