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Google to pay $90 million in settlement with app developers

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In this file photo taken February 14, 2020 (FILES) In this file photo illustration shows the Google logo of the American multinational Internet-related technology and services company in Brussels. (Photo: AFP)

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Google will fund a $90 million settlement for small app developers who accused the tech giant of abusing its market position, according to statements seen by the AFP on Friday.

The funds are expected to result in payments of US$200,000 or more to some of the 48,000 developers in a class action lawsuit, according to plaintiffs’ attorney Hagens Berman.

The case centered on accusations that Google violated antitrust laws with its Google Play app store, alleging the tech giant maintained a monopoly in the US market on its Android smartphone system that penalized developers.

The settlement will cover developers whose annual revenue on Google Play is US$2 million or less between 2016 and 2021.

Additionally, Google agreed to allow developers to pay a 15% service fee on the first US$1 million in annual revenue, down from the previous 30%.

Other measures will promote applications from independent developers and facilitate the use of these alternatives within the Android ecosystem.

Wilson White, Google’s vice president for government affairs, said he was happy with the deal.

“As the agreement notes, we remain confident in our case and our case, but this settlement will avoid prolonged and unnecessary litigation with developers, whom we consider essential partners in the Android ecosystem,” White said.

Hagens Berman, who won a $100 million settlement from Apple in 2020 in a similar case, hailed the deal as an example of accountability from Big Tech.

“Today, nearly 48,000 hard-working app developers receive the fair payment they deserve for their work, which Google has sought to capitalize on, at all costs,” said Steve Berman, co-founder of the company.