Google To Pay $90 Million To Devs - But It's Not Enough
Written by Lucy Black   
Wednesday, 06 July 2022

While the big fight with Epic Games continues, Google has settled a class action with an offer of $90 million, but is it just a diversionary tactic?

This is all about the 30% that Google charges to distribute apps from the Play Store. It is part of a bigger picture where the whole app store approach is labelled as being a monopoly that ensures that Google, and Apple, get to control what software runs on their hardware while making money doing it.

googleplay

Google has offered $90 in settlement, but the details of who gets what aren't entirely clear. According to a blog post:

"As part of the settlement, we’re establishing a $90 million fund to support U.S. developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play during each year from 2016-2021. A vast majority of U.S. developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose. If the Court approves the settlement, developers that qualify will be notified and allowed to receive a distribution from the fund."

This all very well but what is a "distribution" and how will it all work out in practice. Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which represented the plaintiffs state:

"There were likely 48,000 app developers eligible to apply for the $90 million fund, and the minimum payout is $250"

All I can say is - make sure you apply!

To make it seem as if Google is trying to be helpful, we also have commitments to maintain the two-tier charge of 15% for the first $1 million in revenue and to allow developers to use information gained from their apps to offer subscriptions or products on rival app stores. In addition, it promises to not take away any facilities that make it easier for users to connect to other app stores and to create an "Indie Apps Corner".

The Coalition for app fairness comments:

“This agreement does nothing to open up the mobile app ecosystem to competition or solve the underlying problem. Even if it’s approved, Google would maintain control over how consumers obtain apps and make purchases inside those apps, which has resulted in high fees and less innovation. This settlement makes it clear that policy solutions like the Open App Markets Act would help ensure a free and fair mobile app ecosystem.”

What is also not well advertised is that the plaintiff's lawyers have asked for $27 million in fees to be paid as part of the settlement. It makes you wonder if the motivation to close the deal on the part of the lawyers was the amount of money to be paid to devs or the money to be pocketed out of the legal process.

As they say - this isn't over. There are new cases being started all over the world and both Google and Apple will have to defend their corners again before the year is out.

The app store model is clearly a monopoly and, worse, an authoritarian institution. Programmers need to break free.

playappstore

More Information

Coalition for App Fairness: Google Settlement is an Empty Gesture

Google and U.S. developers find agreement over Google Play store

Developer class action settlement with Google over Google Play tax on Android apps: same sham as in Apple App Store case

Related Articles

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Epic Games V Apple & Google - Smash The App Stores

Epic Games Takes On Apple - Unintended Consequences

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Google Matches Apple's App Store Cut

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 July 2022 )