Google To Pay $700 Million in Monopoly Case

( – Google is the most popular website in the world, with nearly 100 billion visits per month. With its popularity, though, have come some major legal issues, as many have accused the company of creating a monopoly by buying up and stifling competitors. The company is currently facing multiple lawsuits as a result. However, it recently agreed with several state attorneys general to settle one case that involves its Play Store.

The Lawsuit

In 2021, a multistate coalition of attorneys general sued the Big Tech company, alleging that it unlawfully monopolized markets for Android users. Specifically, they had to download apps and use the in-app payment processing service rather than go through the developer directly. Additionally, states claimed “Google signed anticompetitive contracts to prevent other app stores from being preloaded on Android devices” and took other steps, such as paying off key developers and creating technological barriers.

It further alleged that Google was using scare tactics to deter users from downloading apps directly from a developer’s website. Instead of taking the case to trial, the attorneys general decided to settle to avoid confusing the jury and having the case thrown out because of the significant amount of damages they were seeking.

The Settlement

On Monday, December 18, Google announced on its website that it had reached a deal with the state attorneys general back in September, but the terms had been hidden until it was finalized. Now, they’ve been made public. To comply, Google will pay $700 million and agree to several conditions, as follows:

  • Put $630 million towards a settlement fund that will be distributed to customers “according to a court-approved plan.”
  • Allocate $70 million into a fund for use by states
  • Improve the app store choices for Android users
  • Make it easier for users to download apps directly from a developer’s website
  • Expand billing options
  • Engage in transparency around pricing options

Both Google and the attorneys general seem happy with the settlement, which is significantly less than the $10.5 billion the petitioners were seeking. Connecticut AG William Tong said that the deal signifies a “loud and clear message to Big Tech” that the coalition is “prepared to use the full weight of [its] collective authority to ensure free and fair access to the digital marketplace.”

However, not everyone is happy. Epic Games, a video game company that developed Fortnite, also sued the tech giant, saying the deal isn’t fair to consumers and will not result in the changes that need to come about, such as junk fees and restrictions placed on developers. In a statement, Epic noted that it scored a recent win when a jury found that Google “violated the antitrust laws in its dealings with developers, potential competitors, and OEMs.” Google plans to appeal this ruling.

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