Google has agreed to settle filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Android app developers, the company said Friday. As part of the agreement, Google is establishing a $90 million fund to compensate developers who earned $2 million or less in annual revenue from Google Play each year from 2016-2021.
The settlement has yet to be approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, where the case was filed. In a blog post, Google said the settlement “allows both parties to move forward and avoid years of uncertain and distracting lawsuits.”
The vast majority of US developers who have earned revenue through Google Play are eligible to receive funds from the fund. If so, they will be notified. Hagens Berman, a law firm that represents the developers, said nearly 48,000 app developers should qualify, with some likely to see payments over $200,000.
Android developers filed a lawsuit against Google in August 2020, alleging that Google forced them to use the Google Play Store to distribute their apps and then forced them to pay exorbitant fees.
In recent years, both Google and Apple have come under fire from regulators and developers for their alleged abuse of power over the mobile application market.
In September 2020, Google gave all android developers a year to introduce its in-app billing system for apps distributed on the Google Play Store to sell digital goods. The move was intended to prevent some popular apps — such as Netflix, Spotify and Epic Games — from bypassing the system — and the 30% discount Google took on those transactions. Epic has sued both google and Apple about their respective app store policies. Subsequently, both google and Apple halved their standard commission on in-app purchases.
In addition to creating the $90 million fund, as part of the settlement, Google agreed that it will maintain the current 15% commission imposed on US developers on the first $1 million in annual revenue earned from the Play. store.
Google also agreed to review its Developer Distribution Agreement to clarify that developers can use contact information obtained in-app to communicate with users outside the app, including about subscription offers or cheaper offers on a rival app store or website. the developer.
The company also agreed to maintain certain changes in Android 12 that make it easier for people to use other app stores on their devices. In addition, Google is creating an “Indie Apps Corner” that will appear in the Apps tab on the Google Play home page in the US.
Finally, Google has agreed to publish annual transparency reports on how Google Play works, including metrics such as deleted apps and account terminations.