Google has announced a settlement with developers in a lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, that accuses the tech giant of hindering the ability of developers – especially smaller studios – to earn substantial revenue by closing the app ecosystem, thereby forcing users to make purchases through Google Play, and subsequently with Google taking 30 per cent of the fees, reports Reuters.
As a result, Google has stated its intentions to establish a $90 million dollar fund to support US developers who earned less than $2 million in annual revenue between 2016 and 2021.
Affected developers will be notified and allowed to receive a part of this fund, and by Google’s estimates, “A vast majority of US developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund”.
Developer Distribution Agreeement to be revised
In addition to these measures, Google wrote that as part of the settlement, they are revising their Developer Distribution Agreement, allowing developers to contact users about subscription offers and lower-cost offerings on rival app stores or on the developer’s website. Newer versions of Android will also make changes to make it easier for consumers to use other app stores.
The company will also create an “Indie Apps Corner” to showcase independent developers.
Finally, the company have agreed to release annual transparency reports, giving information about statistics such as removed apps, account terminations, and data regarding how users interact with Google Play.
This settlement has been submitted to the court for approval, with the agreement of both parties.
Although this lawsuit is coming to a close, Google are facing an investigation by UK regulators regarding payment practises.