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Google to cough up $700m in antitrust settlement

Google has settled with a number of US states over a lawsuit regarding its handling of Android apps and pricing. The total fee will tally out at $700m

Google has agreed to pay out a massive pile of cash in exchange for a settlement agreement that will put to be allegations that it misused its hold over the Android application market.

The agreement, announced by the Northern California Attorney General, alleges that company now Known as Alphabet violated US antitrust laws by forcing consumers into a single app market for their mobile phone purchases.

The state claimed that the decision was the culmination of an effort to break up Google's stranglehold on the Android app space and prevent the search Giant from monopolizing the app sector.

"Google took advantage of Android phone customers by limiting consumer choice and capitalizing on commissions for in-app purchases, all while limiting alternative ways to download apps. Google’s anticompetitive behavior hurt consumers by limiting their options, inflating prices on in-app purchases, and creating an unfair marketplace designed to funnel ill-gotten profits back to the company," said attorney general Rob Bonta. 

"Today we are taking an important step to put a stop to this anticompetitive conduct and provide restitution to consumers harmed by Google's monopolization of the Android App market."

Under the terms of the agreement, Alphabet/Google will pay out $630m in restitution to various states, along with a $70m fee for legal fees and paperwork costs.

The deal will also allow third parties to revise and reduce warnings if they want to install their app stores on Android devices and offer cheaper prices for in-app purchases.

Additionally, Google will have to allow developers to use in-app billing services not owned by Google and take advantage of third-party billing services.

"Specifically, the states claimed that Google signed anticompetitive contracts to prevent other app stores from being preloaded on Android devices," Bonta's office said in announcing the deal,

"[they] bought off key app developers who might have launched rival app stores to the Google Play store, and created technological barriers to deter consumers from directly downloading apps to their devices."