As detailed in recent court documents filed in the federal court in San Francisco, the settlement encompasses the Alphabet company allocating $630m to a fund designated for consumers and an additional $70m to a fund designated for states

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Google to pay $700m and redesign Play Store as part of an antitrust settlement in the US. (Credit: Dylan Carr on Unsplash)

Google has agreed to a $700m settlement and a redesign of its Play app store to foster increased competition in an effort to resolve an antitrust case with US states and consumers.

As outlined in court filings in San Francisco federal court earlier this week, the settlement involves the Alphabet company contributing $630m to a fund for consumers and $70m to a fund for states.

The settlement, which awaits final approval from a judge, stipulates that eligible consumers will receive a minimum of $2, with the possibility of additional payments based on their expenditures on Google Play between 16 August 2016 and 30 September 2023.

The resolution includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Google faced allegations of overcharging consumers due to illicit constraints on app distribution on Android devices and imposing unwarranted fees for in-app transactions. While the internet major did not admit to any wrongdoing, attorneys representing states and consumers unveiled the settlement in September this year.

The terms were initially confidential pending Google’s trial with Epic Games. Recently, a California federal jury gave a favourable verdict to Epic Games, concurring that certain aspects of Google’s app business exhibited anticompetitive behavior.

Google government affairs and public policy vice president Wilson White in the company blog wrote: “Android and Google Play provide choices and opportunities for innovation that other platforms we compete against simply don’t – from allowing for multiple app stores and avenues of app distribution to piloting new ways for users to pay for in-app purchases.

“We’re pleased to reach an agreement that builds on that foundation and we look forward to making these improvements that will help evolve Android and Google Play for the benefit of millions of developers and billions of people around the world.”

Google also plans to enhance the flexibility of app and game developers by enabling them to offer consumers an alternative billing option for in-app purchases alongside Play’s billing system.

The search engine giant revealed that it tested choice billing in the US for over a year. As outlined in the settlement, Google also commits to simplifying users’ capability to directly download apps from developers.