South Korea’s National Assembly approved the passage of its “Anti-Google law” today, after several delays. The rule, dubbed after Google but with a broader scope, will bar Google and Apple from compelling developers to adopt their in-app billing systems when creating apps for their two market-dominating app stores.
This is the first time a government has stepped in to stop Google and Apple from imposing their own payment rails on in-app purchases around the world.
Many will be watching to see whether the action in South Korea becomes a tipping point, where the two may face similar restrictions in other countries. According to media sources, Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently exploring restrictions for Apple, Google, and WeChat’s digital payment systems.
On Wednesday, August 25, South Korea’s preliminary committee agreed to move forward with the updated Telecommunication Business Act, which aims to prevent Google and Apple from charging app developers commission on in-app purchases.
South Korean lawmakers have suggested laws to restrict multinational internet giants from exercising their dominance in the app payment sector since August 2020.
To pacify app developers, Google cut its commission for all in-app transactions from 30% to 15% in March 2021, down from 30% previously. Four months later, it stated that its new in-app billing mechanism will be delayed until March 2022.
Meanwhile, Apple proposed a settlement in a lawsuit brought against it by software developers in the United States in August, stating that app developers will be able to direct their payment options outside of their iOS app or the App Store, though it did not go as far as allowing developers to include alternative payment methods within the app itself. Meanwhile, Apple proposed a settlement in a lawsuit brought against it by software developers in the United States in August, stating that app developers will be able to direct their payment options outside of their iOS app or the App Store, though it did not go as far as allowing developers to include alternative payment methods within the app itself. “The proposed Telecommunications Business Act will expose users who buy digital goods from other sources to fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like ‘Ask to Buy’ and Parental Controls will become less effective,” Apple said in a statement.
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