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Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and 52 other state attorneys general announced a $700 million settlement with Google on Tuesday over the search engine company’s Play Store for Android apps.
The tech giant also agreed to several measures to stop anticompetitive practices.
Arkansans’ share of the restitution settlement amounts to slightly more than $4.7 million, Griffin said in a statement.
“Of the $700 million, Google will pay $630 million in restitution,” Griffin said. “The other $70 million are penalties that will be paid out to the states and territories that sued Google.”
The lawsuit that resulted in the settlement charged that Google monopolized the market for Android apps and in-app payment processing. The attorneys general sued Google in 2021, alleging the company prevented competitors from having their apps preloaded on Android devices through anti-competitive contracts and buying out developers with the potential to become rivals. The suit also claimed Google erected barriers that discouraged consumers from downloading other apps.
“I am pleased with the outcome of this case and glad that affected Arkansans will receive restitution,” Griffin said.
Consumers who made purchases through the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023 and were harmed by Google’s anticompetitive practices are eligible for restitution, the attorney general said.
Consumers won’t have to submit a claim. Payment will be made automatically through PayPal or Venmo, or consumers can choose to receive a check or automatic bank transfer.
The settlement requires Google to change its business practices in the following ways:
- Give all developers the ability to allow users to pay through in-app billing systems other than Google Play Billing for at least five years.
- Allow developers to offer cheaper prices for their apps and in-app products for consumers who use alternative, non-Google billing systems for at least five years.
- Permit developers to steer consumers toward alternative, non-Google billing systems by advertising cheaper prices within their apps themselves for at least five years.
- Not enter contracts that require the Play Store to be the exclusive, pre-loaded app store on a device or home screen for at least five years.
- Allow the installation of third-party apps on Android phones from outside the Google Play Store for at least seven years.
- Revise and reduce the warnings that appear on an Android device if a user attempts to download a third-party app from outside the Google Play Store for at least 5 years.
- Maintain Android system support for third-party app stores, including allowing automatic updates, for four years.
- Not require developers to launch their app catalogs on the Play Store at the same time as they launch on other app stores for at least four years.
- Submit compliance reports to an independent monitor who will ensure that Google is not continuing its anticompetitive conduct for at least 5 years.
To read a copy of the settlement, click here.
Arkansas Advocate is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arkansas Advocate maintains editorial independence. This article was published with permission from the Arkansas Advocate. Contact Editor Sonny Albarado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Arkansas Advocate on Facebook and Twitter.