Google reaches a preliminary settlement in the US Play Store lawsuit

A view of the Google logo on a temporary home during CES 2023, an annual trade show for consumer electronics, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on January 6, 2023. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo Obtaining licensing rights

Sept 6 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) Google on Tuesday reached a tentative settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging that its U.S. Play Store violated U.S. federal antitrust rules by overcharging customers, according to a court filing.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

In the lawsuit, brought by more than 30 US states and representing 21 million consumers, the plaintiffs claimed that consumers might have spent less on apps and had more choices if not for Google’s alleged monopoly.

The settlement parties, including lawyers representing the Attorney General of Utah, which leads the group of states, requested that the trial scheduled for November 6 be canceled.

Google, which has denied any wrongdoing, declined to comment on the proposed settlement. Attorneys for the consumer plaintiffs declined to comment on the proposed settlement, while attorneys for the plaintiffs, which include the states and the District of Columbia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlement is subject to court approval.

Google is facing similar lawsuits alleging that it made huge profit margins from its Play Store by engaging in illegal tactics to maintain monopolies in the sale of Android apps and in-app goods.

They argue that Google illegally mandated that some apps use the company’s payment tools and gives Google up to 30% of sales of digital goods.

Epic Games, which made such a claim, is not a party to the proposed Google Play settlement, Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

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“If Google ends its payments monopoly without imposing a Google tax on third-party transactions, we will settle and we will be Google’s new-age friends,” he said, adding that if the settlement leaves the “Google tax” in place, the company will “keep fighting.”

Match Group (MTCH.O) also filed a claim. A Match spokesman declined to comment.

The case is filed in Google Play Store Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 21-md-02981.

(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru and Mike Scarsella – Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Additional reporting by Kanjik Ghosh; Edited by Jamie Freed and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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