Google App Developers’ Attorneys Secure $26M

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Google App Devs Attorneys Get $26M

In a thrilling conclusion to a landmark antitrust lawsuit, a California federal judge has given final approval to a $90 million deal that resolves allegations by smaller developers against Google. The judge awarded the developers’ attorneys an impressive $26 million, praising their efforts in securing both monetary relief and structural reforms from the tech giant.

Google App Developers’ Attorneys Secure $26M : Rapid Resolution Raises Eyebrows

U.S. District Judge James Donato initially expressed surprise at the speed with which the case settled. Last summer, he questioned the requested fee, stating, “This case settled fast.” Despite initial skepticism, Judge Donato ultimately approved the full $26 million, deeming it reasonable given the significant impact achieved by the legal team.

Proportionate Compensation and Structural Reforms

The approved settlement includes a $112 million “quantifiable” fund, comprising $90 million in cash and $22 million in “prospective rate savings.” Judge Donato emphasized the appropriateness of the lawyers’ fee request, amounting to 24% of the total settlement. He highlighted the structural reforms accomplished in the case, including changes to Google’s Play Store to enhance app discoverability and facilitate automatic updates from other Android app stores for three years.

Transparency and Developer Communication

As part of the resolution, Google committed to revising its developer distribution agreement, allowing developers to use contact information to communicate with app users. Additionally, the tech giant pledged to publish an annual “transparency report,” sharing insights into app removals, account terminations, and user interactions with Google Play.

Google App Developers’ Attorneys Secure $26M : Developers’ Savings and Class Certification

Class counsel argued that the litigation was responsible for approximately 20% of the $109.8 million in savings, justifying the $22 million addition to the cash fund. The judge affirmed the certification of a settlement class comprising tens of thousands of app developers who paid Google a service fee exceeding 15% and earned up to $2 million annually between 2016 and 2021.

Modest Service Awards and Developer Relief

The judge confirmed class representatives and approved $5,000 service awards to named plaintiffs, rejecting their request for $10,000. Despite modest additional work, the judge deemed the $5,000 awards appropriate. Overall, the relief provided to settlement class members was deemed adequate and received final approval.

Google’s Monopoly Allegations and Continued Reduced Commission

Both Apple and Google faced accusations of monopolizing app markets by blocking competing app stores and enforcing their in-app payment systems. Google’s commitment to maintaining a reduced 15% commission on the first $1 million of annual Play Store revenue was a key component of the settlement.

Google App Developers’ Attorneys Secure $26M : Industry Impact

With the settlement fund covering developers earning $2 million or less annually from Google’s Play Store, approximately 48,000 U.S. developers stand to benefit. The deal also signifies a commitment to fostering a more competitive environment in the app development landscape.

No Immediate Response

As of late Thursday, Google and counsel for the developers had not responded to requests for comment. The resolution marks a significant milestone in the ongoing legal battles against tech giants accused of anti-competitive practices.