Google has agreed to pay $90 million to small app developers to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company’s Play store policies violated antitrust laws.
The app developers had accused Google of using agreements with smartphone makers to force payments through its Google Play billing system which came with a default 30% service fee.
On Thursday, the tech giant announced that it would put $90 million in a fund to support app developers who made $2 million or less in annual revenue 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,’ said Google in a blog post.
The company also said it would charge developers a 15% commission on their first million in revenue from the Google Play Store each year. It started doing this in 2021.
‘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 Hages Berman managing partner Steve Berman in a statement.
‘With this settlement, developers will have more room to grow and more money in their pockets to promote their hard efforts,’
The minimum payout is $250 with some claimants eligible to receive as much as $200,000. The proposed settlement must still be approved by the court.
Last year, Apple agreed to loosen App Store restrictions on small developers, striking a deal on a similar class-action lawsuit and agreeing to pay $100 million.
This is just the beginning as governments in the US and EU are looking into reining in Big Tech through pending legislation.
In the US, the proposed Open App Markets Act would force Apple and Google to allow users to install apps without app stores, called sideloading. Google says it already allows sideloading.
The EU’s Digital Markets Act could also make sideloading mandatory if it’s given final approval by the European Parliament in 2023.