Between a long, tedious and expensive trial and settling 90 million dollars not to antagonize American developers of Android applications, Google has chosen the second option.
“The Android app economy has helped create nearly two million jobs in the United States. Developers around the world have earned over $120 billion using the Google Play Store.” This is how the press release from Google begins, which tries to justify itself in the face of the lawsuit which opposes it to American developers. They accuse the firm of abusing its application distribution power and charging an unfair 30% fee for application purchases and in-app purchases made via Google Play. In this sense, it announces the creation of a fund of 90 million dollars “to help American developers who have achieved two million dollars or less in annual revenue through its application store during each year between 2016 and 2021. “.
Note that the vast majority of US developers who have received revenue through Google Play will be able to receive money from this fund, if they wish. If the court approves this settlement proposed by the American giant, developers who qualify will be notified and authorized to receive a distribution from the fund. This proposed settlement, “allows both parties to move forward and avoid years of uncertain and distracting litigation” in Google’s words. As a reminder, the plaintiffs originally filed a lawsuit against Google in 2020 in California, alleging that the company had obtained a monopoly in the Android application distribution space “through a series of anti-competitive contracts, strategic abuses of its dominance in other Android software applications, consumer knowledge and information deficits, and the cultivation and exploitation of fear of malware among device users”.
Other commitments made in favor of developers
In addition to the fund, the firm announces that it wants to maintain a certain number of existing practices and set up other advantages to “help developers innovate and communicate with their users”. Thus, Google’s 15% commission rate is maintained for the first million dollars of annual revenue made on the Google Play Store for US developers, implemented in 2021. More so, the distribution agreement for developers will be revised to make it clear that users may continue to use contact information obtained in the app to communicate with users outside of the app, including with respect to subscription offers or lower cost offers on a competing app store or on the developer’s website.
In future versions of Android, Google will maintain some changes implemented in Android 12 that make it even easier for users to use other app stores on their devices, while ensuring that security measures are not compromised. implemented by Android. Finally, a special tab dedicated to independent developers and small startups that create unique high quality applications should be created, under the name of “Indie Apps Corner”. It will appear in the Apps tab of the US Google Play homepage. Always in a desire to be more transparent – and not end up with yet another lawsuit soon – Google has agreed to publish annual transparency reports. They will contain information about the Google Play store, including statistics such as apps removed from Google Play, account terminations, and other data relating to users’ interaction with Google Play.