- South Korea has passed a bill taking aim at Apple and Google’s app store payments.
- The bill bans Apple and Google from forcing certain payment systems on app developers.
South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill that will force Apple and Google to accept alternative payment services on their respective app stores. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Moon Jae-in, whose party pushed for the law in the first place.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap News, the amendments to the Telecommunications Business Act will “bar app market operators from forcing certain payment systems on mobile content businesses.” In other words, the Google Play Store and Apple App Store won’t be allowed to force their own payment systems on developers.
The outlet adds that the bill also bars app stores from “unfairly” delaying reviews of mobile content like apps. App store operators that fall foul of these rules could be fined up to 3% of their revenue in South Korea, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A sign of things to come for Apple and Google?
The news comes after years of Google and Apple taking a cut of up to 30% from sales on their app stores. The passed bill also comes almost a year after Google announced plans to force all apps on the Play Store to use its billing service. Apple has long maintained this approach too, barring app developers from informing users of other billing options.
Apple recently agreed to a settlement with US developers, allowing them to inform users of other payment options via email and text. Unfortunately, iOS developers still can’t inform users of their options within an app itself.
It goes without saying that this bill applies to South Korea only, but this isn’t the only country targeting app store business practices. US senators introduced a bill earlier this month that would bar Apple and Google from forcing their own payment services on developers. 36 US states and Washington DC also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google earlier this year. The suit challenges Google’s dominance of the Android app store space.
Will South Korea’s law result in more countries taking action too? That remains to be seen. For what it’s worth, the EU forced Google to offer users a choice of browser and search engine back in 2019, but we’ve yet to see similar clampdowns in other major markets.
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