Michigan joins in on nationwide settlement with Google  

The $700 million settlement comes after a class action lawsuit filed by multiple states alleging anti-competitive behavior in the company’s Google Play store.

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, as $630 million of the $700 million settlement will be going to Google Play consumers.

The remaining funds will 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 how to divide the money, with the help of a settlement administrator. The funds are 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 [Michigan’s] attorney general is going to get a lot because Michigan wasn’t one of the early participants in the litigation,” Gordon said. “So, we certainly aren’t going to get an extra share.”

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,” he said.

Google released a press release denying all wrongdoing, with Google Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy Wilson White saying he believes the company 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,” White wrote.

The company said this week’s settlement builds upon its foundation of providing choice to users.

MPRN’s Rick Pluta contributed to this report.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »