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Google will pay developers $90M to settle an antitrust lawsuit

Google Play Store on OnePlus 9
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has established a $90 million fund to settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by app developers.
  • The fund will reimburse developers who claim Google charged them an unfair fee for app purchases made through the Play Store.
  • The settlement is pending court approval, with nearly 48,000 developers eligible for reimbursement.

Google will pay $90 million to developers to settle a lawsuit alleging that the search giant charged them an unfair fee for app purchases made through the Play Store.

The fund will be used to reimburse app developers who sued Google in 2020 over accusations that it charged them exorbitant fees of 30% for app purchases and in-app purchases made through the Play Store. The plaintiffs also claimed that Google forced them to use its Google Play billing system.

Last year, Google lowered the Play Store fee to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue per year earned by developers. As part of the preliminary settlement agreement, Google will only take a 15% cut from the developers' first $1 million in annual revenues until at least May 25, 2025.

Google said in a blog post (opens in new tab) that it intends for the proposed settlement "to move forward and [avoid] years of uncertain and distracting litigation." Developers who earned $2 million or less in annual revenue through the Play Store between 2016 and 2021 are eligible for compensation. The agreement is still subject to court approval.

Hagens Berman, the law firm that filed the class-action on behalf of the developers, said in a press release (opens in new tab) that nearly 48,000 U.S.-based app developers are eligible to receive payments from the fund. This means some claimants could receive as much as $200,000. On the other hand, the minimum payout they could get is $250.

In addition to the fund, Google has also agreed to keep its 15% commission rate for the first $1 million earned from Google Play. The company will also revise its Developer Distribution Agreement to clarify that developers may use contact details obtained through the app to communicate with users outside of the platform. Finally, an Indie Apps Corner will appear on the U.S. homepage of the Play Store to highlight apps from small developers.

Jay Bonggolto
Jay Bonggolto

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.