Google offers Android app developers $90 million to settle class action lawsuit

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In a bid to settle a class action lawsuit and avoid years of litigation, Google is offering Android app developers $90 million in compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2020 and accused Google of improperly obtaining and maintaining a monopoly in the US market for the distribution of the Android operating system and in-app product transaction fees. Google is also accused of using its power to “prevent competition that would benefit all Android app developers”.

The US developers are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which handled a similar class action lawsuit against Apple last year.

“Today, nearly 48,000 hard-working app developers receive the fair payment they deserve for their work, which Google has sought to take advantage of, at all costs,” said Steve Berman.(Opens in a new window), managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “Under the settlement agreement we’ve worked out, some class members will likely see payouts in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to $200,000 or more.”

If the court approves the proposed settlement, the minimum payment received by each promoter will be $250. In a blog post(Opens in a new window)Google vice president for government affairs and public policy Wilson White said the $90 million fund would support all US developers who earned $2 million or less in annual revenue through Google Play between 2016 and 2021. All developers who qualify to receive money will be notified assuming this continues.

White points to changes recently made by Google that “help developers innovate and connect with their users.” These include the app’s commission rate dropping from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million in annual revenue generated through the Play Store. The Developer Distribution Agreement is also being revised to make it clear that developers can communicate with users outside of their apps using information obtained within the app.

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We can also expect to see Google create an “Indie Apps Corner” which will appear on the Apps tab of the US Google Play homepage. It will feature apps from indie developers and small startups that offer what Google considers “high-quality, unique apps.”

What happens next is in the hands of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, but the motion for preliminary approval states, “Under the proposed settlement, these developers are expected to receive substantial monetary payments as well as structural relief that, going forward, will improve the Google Play Store and help developers better monetize their apps and in-app products.”

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