South Korea Plans to Fine Google and Apple for Violating In-App Payment Law
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), South Korea’s telecommunication regulator, announced on Friday its plans to impose fines on Google and Apple. The fines could amount to a total of $50.5 million for these tech giants’ violation of the country’s in-app payment law.
Abuse of Market Dominance and Unfair Practices
The KCC statement reveals that Google and Apple exploited their market dominance by pressuring local app developers into using their own in-app payment methods instead of competing systems. They also unfairly delayed app reviews to enforce their specific billing system.
Promoting Fair Competition in the App Store Marketplace
In order to promote fair competition, the commission has informed Google and Apple about the implementation of corrective measures in the app store marketplace. Additionally, the KCC accuses Apple of discriminatory commission charges imposed on domestic app developers in South Korea.
The KCC will determine the final fine amounts after collecting opinions from both Google and Apple. These fines could reach 47.6 billion won ($35.4 million) for Google and 20.5 billion won for Apple.
Korean Watchdog Investigation
In August 2022, the Korean watchdog initiated an investigation into three app stores: Google, Apple, and One Store (a local app store). The purpose was to examine potential violations of South Korea’s in-app payment rule, which was passed in 2021.
New Telecommunication Law in South Korea
In 2021, South Korea enacted a new telecommunication law that allows app developers to use third-party payment options for in-app purchases. The law also prohibits app store operators from forcing developers to use their own systems. While Apple and Google agreed to adhere to these rules, Apple required developers targeting the South Korean App Store to submit a separate binary for using third-party purchasing systems starting in 2022.
Prior Fines on Google by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC)
Earlier this year, the KFTC fined Google 42.1 billion won ($32 million) for blocking developers from releasing mobile video games on One Store, a Korean competitor platform.
Statements from Google and Apple
A spokesperson from Google stated that they have been collaborating with the KCC to comply with the new law and ensure a safe and high-quality experience for all users. They will carefully review and respond to the KCC’s pre-notice before determining their next course of action. GamingIdeology is awaiting a comment from Apple.
[GamingIdeology has reached out to Apple for a comment, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.]