© 2024 WEMU
Serving Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County, MI
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Michigan joins in on nationwide settlement with Google

Google web search page
Wikipedia Media Commons
Google web search page

Michigan is taking part in a new $700 million settlement with Google over alleged anti-competitive behavior in its Google Play store.

Despite the large overall settlement, the State of Michigan is likely to only see a small fraction of that amount. That’s because most of the money, $630 million, is going toward Google Play consumers.

The rest will go toward a monetary fund, to be split among all 50 states, in addition to Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The states and territories will have to work out amongst themselves, with the help of a settlement administrator, how to divide the money.

That money is suggested to be used for antitrust or consumer protection enforcement.

But University of Michigan Professor Erik Gordon said not to expect too much from the State of Michigan’s share.

“Some money will go into the attorney general’s budget. But I don’t think (the) Michigan attorney general is going to get a lot because Michigan wasn’t one of the early participants in the litigation. So, we certainly aren’t going to get an extra share,” Gordon said.

The lawsuit started with an individual suing Google in August 2020. The case eventually grew to a class action suit, with several states joining in July 2021.

Michigan and many other states and territories joined the settlement after September 2023.

Gordon said there could be some benefits behind entering late.

“On the one hand, we’re not going to get a lot of the money. But on the other hand, we didn’t spend a lot of the money to get what we end up with so it might actually be very efficient,” Gordon said.

The large settlement amount is reminiscent of other major announcements from the Michigan Attorney General’s office, like deals with opioid manufacturers and distributors.

But Gordon said this type of settlement is different, partly because states didn’t face a lot of costs because of Google’s alleged behavior.

“Maybe some of the consumers in the state paid a little more, maybe some of the app developers had a tougher time. But the State of Michigan and the cities within Michigan didn’t bear a lot of economic brunt because of what Google did,” Gordon said.

For Google’s part, the company denies all wrongdoing.

In a press release, the company wrote that it believes it has promoted competition within its marketplace.

“Android and Google Play have continuously evolved to provide more flexibility and choice in response to feedback from developers and regulators, as well as intense competition from Apple and app stores across the open Android ecosystem,” Google vice president of government affairs and public policy Wilson White wrote.

MPRN's Rick Pluta contributed to this report.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
Related Content