Google sets up US$90m fund for Android app developers

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Alphabet-owned Google has agreed to establish a $90 million fund as part of a proposed settlement to a legal spat with US Android app developers over their earnings, in a bid to avoid what the search giant described as uncertainty arising from the proceedings.

Writing in the company’s corporate blog, VP for government affairs and public policy Wilson White indicated the fund aims to support US developers with earnings of less than $2 million from Google Play in each year from 2016 to 2021.

The proposed settlement is yet to be approved by the US District Court for the Northern District of California, where a class-action lawsuit filed by Android developers against Google has been pending since August 2020.

Hagens Berman, a law company representing the developers, stated the lawsuit alleged Google violated antitrust laws and harmed developers through anticompetitive policies governing the Google Play Store.

Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman, said the proposed settlement could benefit around 48,000 Android developers.

The company added each class-action member will receive a minimum payment of $250, “with additional distributions served on a pro rata basis up to and exceeding $200,000”.

Berman noted the company had secured a $100 million settlement on behalf of US iOS developers on similar claims against Apple in 2021.

“We think this pair of settlements sends a strong message to Big Tech: the law is watching and even the most powerful companies in the world are accountable when they stifle competition,” Berman stated.

Google also committed to allow developers to pay a reduced 15 per cent service fee on their first $1 million in annual revenue until at least 25 May 2025, down from the previous rate of 30 per cent.

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