Hausfeld, Peekya App Services, and Rescue Pets announce final approval of $90 million settlement on behalf of app developers in groundbreaking antitrust class action against Google
January 12, 2024 (Washington D.C.) – Hausfeld, a global antitrust claimants’ law firm, and two class representative plaintiffs, Peekya App Services and Rescue Pets, announced today that U.S. District Court Judge James Donato (N.D. Cal) has approved the groundbreaking $90 million developer settlement in In re Google Play Store Antitrust Litigation, one of the first cases filed in a wave of antitrust litigation that has disrupted the tech industry.
The settlement approval brings an end to the developers’ monopolization claims case against Google regarding its alleged anticompetitive conduct and unlawful practices related to the Google Play Store, including Google’s requirement that the app developers who create, develop, and maintain the apps distributed on the Google Play Store pay a 30% tax to Google on revenue earned from paid apps and in-app products. The settlement was reached on behalf of app developers with $2 million or less in annual sales, which includes nearly all U.S. developers earning revenue in the Google Play Store.
Melinda R. Coolidge, part of the Hausfeld team representing the app developer class and Hausfeld’s U.S. Managing Partner, commented:
“Google’s conduct had deterred entry and stifled innovation within the app developer community by controlling the manner in which Android apps are distributed, which increased prices to app developers and consumers, and reduced output by reducing app developers’ capital and incentives for creating new apps. This settlement offers app developers significant compensation for past conduct, and we expect that the changes brought about from this case will lead to a larger number of innovative and diverse app developers bringing more unique apps into the market, thereby increasing competition and paving the way for a greater number of entrepreneurs and start-ups to succeed.”
In addition to paying $90 million in monetary relief directly to developers, Google has acknowledged that the litigation was a catalyst for its 2021 launch of a program where developers pay a reduced 15% service fee on their first $1 million in annual revenues and agreed to maintain that reduced fee tier for at least three more years. Google has also committed to a series of structural reforms, including developing an “Indie Apps Corner” on the homepage of the Google Play Store and publishing an annual transparency report.
Plaintiff François Einwaechter, Director of Peekya App Services, Inc., remarked:
“Peekya joined Hausfeld in bringing this case so that we could make the market more competitive, to preserve incentives for app developers, and to ultimately lower costs for consumers – and we succeeded in achieving all of those goals. The financial benefits provided to app developers, including Peekya, as a result of the settlement are real and tangible -- the money we save allows us to improve the quality and security of our products and services, encourages innovation to create new products, and we can put money back into our companies to better market our products and grow our teams. Ultimately, this will provide greater satisfaction for consumers, with more choices and increased selection.”
Plaintiff Dan Scalise, founder of Rescue Pets, expressed similar sentiment:
“Google controlled an essential bridge to reaching hundreds of millions of app users, and the toll that Google charged to use that bridge had no relationship to the security or cost of maintaining an app store. Sure, Google provides a service, and app developers understand that they are entitled to make a profit. But Google abused its dominant position atop the market to charge an unfair, outrageously high and anticompetitive fee to get access to a critical service – and Google intentionally put-up roadblocks to try to build or use other bridges to reach consumers. We changed that - we made the market more competitive and preserved incentives for entrepreneurial and innovative app developers to keep bringing terrific products to market, all the while lowering costs for both the app developers and their consumers.”
Hausfeld attorneys working on the case include Melinda R. Coolidge, Katie R. Beran, and Kyle G. Bates. Hausfeld serves as co-lead counsel for the developer class along with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Sperling & Slater.
Lisa Sharrow, Director of Marketing & Business Development
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Notes to editor
Peekya offers a new and innovative way for people to connect while traveling for business or leisure before or even after arriving at their event or destination. Unlike other apps, which limit the search function based on current location, Peekya allows users to peek into the future days, weeks, or even months in advance of a trip, meet like-minded people that share the same interest as you do and plan and connect ahead. For more information, including how to get the app and invite your friends to join, please visit: https://peekya.com/. To learn more about Peekya’s involvement in this groundbreaking antitrust class action, please visit: https://vimeo.com/834425295/96f9eb5754?share=copy.
About Rescue Pets
Rescue Pets offers games you can play for free to help save real animals. Rescue Pets’ mission is to improve the lives of animals everywhere. The original Rescue Pets game allows you to run a virtual animal shelter, improving the lives of the virtual animals in your care and personalizing your own Corgi companion with outfits. Rescue Pets also recently released Rock Miner, where you can crush rocks and stones, explore mines, save virtual dogs, and become a Corgi mining king. Rescue Pets donates a share of its profits to animal shelters to help save real pets’ lives. To download either app and play today, please visit: https://www.scalisco.com/.
Hausfeld is a leading litigation law firm with offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., as well as in the UK and continental Europe. In the last decade, Hausfeld has won landmark trials, negotiated complex settlements, and recovered billions of dollars for clients both in and out of court. Hausfeld lawyers consistently apply forward-thinking ideas and creative solutions to the most vexing global legal challenges faced by clients. As a result, the firm’s litigators have developed numerous innovative legal theories that have expanded the quality and availability of legal recourse for claimants around the globe.