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Google reaches tentative settlement in US Play Store lawsuit

A view of the Google logo on a temporary house during CES 2023, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 6, 2023. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Sept 6 (Reuters) – Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google on Tuesday tentatively settled a class action suit alleging that its U.S. Play Store had violated U.S. federal antitrust rules by overcharging customers, according to a court filing.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

In the action brought by more than 30 U.S. states and representing 21 million consumers, the plaintiffs had claimed that consumers might have spent less on apps and had more options if it weren’t for Google’s alleged monopoly.

Parties to the settlement, including lawyers representing the attorney general for Utah which is leading the group of states, asked that a trial scheduled for Nov. 6 be canceled.

Google, which had denied wrongdoing, declined to comment on the proposed settlement. Lawyers for the consumer plaintiffs declined to comment on the proposed settlement, while a lawyer for plaintiffs that include the states and the District of Columbia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlement is subject to approval by the court.

Google is facing similar lawsuits which allege that it has generated enormous profit margins from its Play Store by engaging in illegal tactics to preserve monopolies in selling Android apps and in-app goods.

They argue that Google has unlawfully mandated that some apps use the company’s payment tools and give Google as much as 30% of digital goods sales

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

“If Google is ending its payments monopoly without imposing a Google Tax on third party transactions, we’ll settle and be Google’s friend in their new era,” he said, adding that if the settlement left the ‘Google tax’ in place, the company will “fight on”.

Match Group (MTCH.O) has also brought a claim. A spokesperson for Match declined to comment.

The case is In re 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 Scarcella; additional reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh; Editing by Jamie Freed and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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