Back in September, google settled a class action lawsuit brought by state attorneys general over the idea that Google had violated antitrust rules, possibly by overcharging customers. The lawsuit was essentially targeted at Google Play and the monopoly Google has over the android app ecosystem.
This week, Google and the attorneys general announced details of a settlement stemming from that lawsuit. The details here are that Google has committed to paying $700 million, the majority of which will go into a fund to benefit consumers. the other $70 million is headed to the states to be used at their discretion.
Money isn't all that's to be noted here. Google will also need to make changes to Google Play, how apps are sideloaded on Android phones, and allow third party app stores to work. Here's a short list of the things that should change:
- Sideloading apps on Android will see a simplified process with updated language to inform folks of the risks of doing so, yet also make it easier to do
- User Choice Billing will arrive for more developers to offer alternative payment options for in-app items
- Pricing from developers can show different pricing for different billing systems, like through User Choice Billing, instead of the best prices being through Google Play
- Third party app stores will “work even better” now, according to Google and that's because there will be less forcing of Google Play on home screens, as well as improved features to those stores, like updating apps
There are additional details involving many of those main bullets, like time limits on how long Google has to commit to these changes. The Verge has a good breakdown of each, like the 5 years Google has to not force companies to set Google Play as the exclusive home screen app store. The new sideloading apps screen is a 5-year commitment as well, as are the User Choice Billing changes.
As for the money, CNN says that 102 million people could receive compensation in as a part of the settlement. For many (71.4 million people), that should mean at least $2, but could be more depending on much money they spent from August 2016 through September 2023. The details on how to receive that money have not been released.
To recap, Google Play was deemed a monopoly and bad for consumers, so Google has to make changes to how its app systems work for several years in order to benefit you and also developers and third party app store pushers. You may see some cash as a part of this lawsuit.