South Korea’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill to ban top app store operators like Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems and also charging them commissions on in-app purchases Reuters reported
Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google have come under global criticism because they require software developers using their app stores to use proprietary payment systems that charge commissions of up to 30%.
The country is the first to take regulatory action against the billing policies of the world’s two dominant mobile ecosystems.
Discussion of the bill started in August last year after Google announced that it would force all app developers on its Play Store marketplace to use Google’s billing system for in-app purchases just like Apple.
This bill will allow the South Korean government to require an app market operator to “prevent damage to users and protect the rights and interests of users”, probe app market operators, and mediate disputes regarding payment, cancellations, or refunds in the app market.
Google noted that Google Play provides far more than payment processing, and its service fee helps keep Android free, giving developers the tools and global platform to access billions of consumers around the world.
“It’s a model that keeps device costs low for consumers and enables both platforms and developers to succeed financially. And just as it costs developers money to build an app, it costs us money to build and maintain an operating system and app store.”
The final vote was 180 in favour out of 188 attending to pass the amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act, dubbed the “Anti-Google law.”
Apple on Thursday agreed to loosen App Store restrictions for small developers, allowing developers to promote payment options outside Apple’s payment system.
Earlier this month in the United States, a bipartisan trio of senators introduced a bill that would rein in app stores of companies that they said exert too much market control, including Apple and Google.
What they are saying
“We’ll reflect on how to comply with this law while maintaining a model that supports a highquality operating system and app store, and we will share more in the coming weeks,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.
Apple said, “We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this proposal – leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW8.55 trillion to date with Apple.