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. We demonstrated this in the recent trial and were disappointed that the verdict did not recognize the choice and competition that our platforms enable. While we are challenging that verdict and our case with Epic is far from over, we remain committed to continually improving Android and Google Play.
Today, the details of a settlement reached in September with state attorneys general were filed publicly. This settlement builds on Android's choice and flexibility, maintains strong security protections, and retains Google’s ability to compete with other OS makers, and invest in the Android ecosystem for users and developers. We're pleased to resolve our case with the states and move forward on a settlement that includes:
- Growing our commitment to app store choice: We have always allowed alternative app stores to be preloaded onto Android devices and for users to download alternative app stores directly. In fact, most Android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded. The settlement with the attorneys general makes clear that OEMs can continue to provide users with options out of the box to use Play or another app store. We recently implemented features in Android 14 that will make third-party app stores work even better for users and let third-party app stores update apps more easily.
- Streamlining sideloading while prioritizing security: Unlike on iOS, Android users have the option to sideload apps, meaning they can download directly from a developer’s website without going through an app store like Google Play. While we maintain it is critical to our safety efforts to inform users that sideloading on mobile could come with unique risks, as part of our settlement we will be further simplifying the sideloading process and updating the language that informs users about these potential risks of downloading apps directly from the web for the first time.
- Expanding user choice billing to more people: App and game developers will be able to implement an alternative billing option alongside Google Play’s billing system for their U.S. users who can then choose which option to use when making in-app purchases. We have been piloting user choice billing in the U.S. for over a year and will now expand this option further.
- Expanding open communication on pricing: We have always given developers more ways to interact with their customers than iOS and other operating systems. For example, Google Play allows developers to communicate freely with their customers outside the app about subscription offers or lower-cost options available on a rival app store or the developer’s website. This openness has spurred competition and benefited consumers and developers. As part of user choice billing, which we’re expanding with today’s settlement announcement, developers are also able to show different pricing options within the app when a user makes a digital purchase.
- Contributing to a settlement fund: Google will pay $630 million into a settlement fund to be distributed for the benefit of consumers according to a Court-approved plan and $70 million into a fund that will be used by the states.
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. These proposed changes will go into effect after the Court formally approves the settlement.