South Korea is the first to pass a bill that obliges major platform holders such as Apple and Google not to discourage developers who want to use third-party payment systems. The Wall Street Journal.
The document with the appropriate changes has already passed the vote. For the law to come into force, it must be signed by President Moon Jae-in, but given that it was authored by the ruling party, the likelihood of this is quite high.
The new telecom business law also prohibits companies from uninstalling apps from the store without giving any reason or deliberately delaying the moderation process. The regulator will be able to fine for violations – up to 3% of the company’s annual turnover in the country.
The South Korean authorities say the changes are an important step towards a fairer ecosystem in the mobile app market. At the same time, Korean commerce experts believe that regulators in other countries, including the United States, will clearly pay attention to these changes and may well follow the example of South Korea.
Google and Apple didn’t like the changes. Companies believe that the amendments to the law will equally badly affect their business and users – the use of third-party payment systems increases the risk of fraud.
Recall that the conflict between Epic Games and Apple / Google flared up exactly a year ago – Epic Games added direct purchases to Fortnite through its Epic Direct system, bypassing the App Store and Google Play mechanisms, so as not to pay the mandatory 30% commission on each microtransaction. In response, Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their stores, and the developer entered into a massive legal battle with platform holders. The court hearings in the Epic and Apple case ended in May, but there has been no decision yet (the judge needs to study over 4.5 thousand pages of testimony). Recently, from court documents, we have learned a lot of interesting things about the internal cuisine and competition. In addition, both Apple and Google have made significant concessions since the beginning of the confrontation with Epic Games, including reducing the commission from 30% to 15% (1 and 2).
Notably, last week Apple, in a separate legal action that is not related to Epic Games, expressed its readiness to allow developers to talk about payment methods bypassing the App. Store.