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Google has settled Play App Store antitrust case with US states, paying a fine of US $700 million

2024-05-23 Update From: SLTechnology News&Howtos shulou NAV: SLTechnology News&Howtos > IT Information >

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Shulou(Shulou.com)12/24 Report--

Thanks to CTOnews.com netizens for the delivery of clues about the past. CTOnews.com, December 19 (Xinhua)-- on December 11, a US jury ruled that Google and its Play app store constituted a monopoly, and Epic Games won a key victory. However, Epic is not alone in filing antitrust lawsuits against Google. In September, 50 state attorneys general reached a similar settlement with Google, and recently the details of the settlement were finally unveiled: a $700 million fine and a series of restrictions on Play store operations.

The most significant change is that if the settlement is approved, Google will allow developers to direct users to downloads outside the Google Play store over the next few years.

In addition to this major change, the settlement includes the following provisions:

Google paid a total of $700m in fines (about 21 days' operating profit of its Play store), of which $629 million will be returned to consumers who may be overpaid for Play store apps or in-house purchases, and $7000 will be allocated to states at the disposal of attorney general.

Over the next seven years, Google will "continue to allow Android systems to install third-party applications other than Google Play at the technical level."

Over the next five years, Google will allow developers to offer alternative in-app payment systems (so-called "user-chosen payment plans") in the Play Store.

For the next five years, Google is not allowed to require developers to offer better prices to users who choose to use Play stores and Play to pay.

For the next four years, Google cannot require developers to release new applications in sync with his platform on its Play store, nor can it require consistency of features.

For the next five years, Google must not force mobile phone makers or exclusively pre-install Play stores on its home screen.

For the next four years, Google must not prevent mobile phone manufacturers from granting permission to install pre-installed applications.

Over the next five years, mobile phone makers will be able to preinstall third-party app stores without Google's "consent".

Over the next four years, Google will allow third-party app stores to update apps without user approval.

Over the next four years, Google will allow side-mounted app stores to use its API and "feature split" technology to help install apps.

Over the next five years, Google will merge the "warning pages" of its two side app stores into an easy-to-understand prompt to inform users that "your phone is not currently configured to allow applications to be installed from this source. Granting installation permission from this source may put your phone and data at risk."

Over the next five years, Google will allow developers who participate in payments to inform users of better prices that may exist on other platforms. And "use the developer's existing web-based payment solution to complete the transaction in the embedded web view within the application".

Over the next six years, Google will "continue to allow developers to communicate with users outside the app using contact information obtained within the app or with the consent of the user".

Over the next six years, Google will allow consumer-only apps, such as Netflix, which cannot pay directly on the device, to inform users of better prices from other channels, but will not be able to link to external sites, such as "$9.99 on the official website".

For the next six years, Google "shall not prohibit developers from disclosing to users any services or other fees related to Google Play or Google Play payment systems".

At first glance, these terms seem to mean that the monopoly of Play stores will be loosened, but on closer reading, each restriction comes with a time limit, and many of them are actually not as meaningful as they seem.

During the Epic lawsuit, for example, Google argued that users could already install third-party apps on their devices in a variety of ways, and that their agreements with developers, mobile phone manufacturers and operators did not require exclusive pre-installation of Play stores.

More importantly, some seemingly significant changes are related to Google's "user choice payment plan", which has been proved to be a "fake choice" by the Epic lawsuit.

The Verge and Google spokesman Dan Jackson confirmed that developers involved in the "user choose payment plan" can only enjoy a 4 per cent discount on Google commission if users choose their own payment system, and Google's internal assessment shows that developers will lose money on users choosing a 4 per cent discount instead. In addition, Google exempts certain companies, such as Spotify, and charges higher commissions only to other companies.

Most importantly, Google reserves the right not to allow developers like Netflix to link to their own sites to offer discounts to users. "Google has no obligation to allow developers to include links in apps distributed through Google Play to take users out of the app for purchase," the settlement said.

According to court documents, the states will ask Judge James Donato to approve the settlement agreement on February 8.

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