Hagens Berman: Android app developers win $90 million settlement in antitrust lawsuit over Google’s App Store policies
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A class of Android app developers represented by plaintiffs’ rights law firm Hagens Berman today won a $90 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging that Google violated antitrust laws and harmed developers through anti-competitive policies governing the Google Play Store. Hagens Berman was the first to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of developers, led settlement negotiations and shaped the settlement with Google after its 2021 legal victory over Apple, in which it won a $100 million settlement on behalf of US iOS developers on similar claims.
Lawyers for Hagens Berman say Google shut out competing app stores, forcing US Android developers to pay the tech giant exorbitant fees in violation of federal antitrust laws. The lawsuit has been pending against Google in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California since August 17, 2020, when the firm filed with co-counsel Sperling & Slater.
“Today, nearly 48,000 hard-working app developers are getting the fair payment they deserve for their work product — something Google has sought to capitalize on, hand in hand,” Steve said. Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman and attorney representing Android. developers in the colony. “Following our victory over Apple for similar behavior, we believe this pair of regulations sends a strong message to Big Tech: the law watches, and even the world’s most powerful companies are accountable when they stifle competition.”
“Under the settlement agreement we’ve worked out, some class members will likely see payouts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to $200,000 or more,” he added.
Berman, who has won monumental victories against Big Tech in his 41-year legal career, served as the group’s acting co-lead attorney in the lawsuit against Google. He previously defended a $560 million class action settlement against Apple and book publishers over e-book price fixing, a $100 million settlement against Apple on behalf of iOS app developers, and his company has ongoing litigation against Facebook, Amazon and many other Big Tech stalwarts. for issues related to competition and consumer rights.
The lawsuit says Google improperly achieved and maintained a monopoly in the U.S. market for Android OS distribution services and embedded product transaction services, and used its power to prevent competition that would benefit all Android OS developers. android apps.
“We are excited to see the effects of this settlement,” Berman added. “With this settlement, developers will have more room for growth and more money in their pockets to promote their hard work.”
From the Developers – what band members said about the settlement
Pure Sweat Basketball Inc., one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, has worked with the firm for the past two years on the case, producing documents and being deposed, among other duties. In support of the settlement, Chief Operating Officer and President of Pure Sweat Basketball Inc., Richard Czeslawski, said, “We are proud of the settlement that has now been reached,” calling the service fee rate change of Google under the “particularly important” rule.
“Google’s commitment to maintain a reduced fee through May 25, 2025 gives Pure Sweat and Settlement Class Members the substantial direct benefit of a significant and ongoing 50% reduction in the service fee rate of Google, 30% to 15%,” Czeslawski said. . “We are delighted to know that, thanks to this class action, we were able to obtain this reduction…”
Commenting on the creation of Google’s Indie Apps Corner as part of the proposed settlement, Czeslawski said, “We are proud to know that our work in this lawsuit has helped secure this program that will make it easier for consumers to find apps from small developers who distribute new apps via Google Play.”
The Fine Print – what developers can expect from the Google Play Store settlement
In addition to the $90 million in monetary relief, the settlement makes major changes to the Google Play Store, which lawyers say will help app developers with future sales and level the playing field.
According to the preliminary settlement agreement, Google will allow developers to pay a reduced service fee of 15% on their first $1 million in annual revenue until at least May 25, 2025, down from its previous rate of $30. %. Google acknowledges as part of the settlement that this case was a factor behind its adoption of this program. Damages expert Dr. Michael Williams estimates that this change alone could save the class of the case more than $109 million in service costs.
Google has also agreed to develop an Indie Apps Corner to highlight apps from independent developers and small startups on the US Google Play Store homepage, and as part of the settlement agrees to revise its distribution agreement. for developers to clarify that developers can use contact information. obtained in the application to communicate directly with users.
The settlement also cements changes to the Android 12 operating system that allow automatic updates from third-party Android app stores, committing Google to maintain those changes for three years. Google has also agreed to publish an annual Transparency Report providing developers with meaningful data regarding the operation of the Google Play Store under the settlement.
The $90 million settlement reached with Google will benefit all US Android developers with annual Google Play revenues of $2 million or less from August 17, 2016 through December 31, 2021 – approximately 99% of Android app developers with revenue from Google Play in this period. period. The settlement constitutes about 36-38% of the estimated total single damages, which the attorneys point to as excellent recovery for a settlement in an antitrust class action. Each class member will receive a minimum payout of $250, with additional distributions served on a pro rata basis up to $200,000 and above.
“Under the proposed settlement, these developers should receive substantial monetary payments as well as structural relief that, going forward, will improve the Google Play Store and help developers better monetize their apps and in-app products,” the company said. motion for preliminary approval.
The settlement now awaits final court approval, with support from attorneys representing both sides.
Learn more about the class action lawsuit against Google on behalf of Android app developers.
About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a global law firm focused on complex plaintiffs’ rights litigation, with a tenacious drive to achieve real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards, and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVP, and Class Action Law Pioneers. To learn more about the law firm and its successes, visit hbsslaw.com. Follow the company for updates and news on @ClassActionLaw.