South Korea votes for a law that could mean trouble for Google and Apple

Satsuki Then - Aug 25, 2021, 6:09am CDT
South Korea votes for a law that could mean trouble for Google and Apple

Earlier this week, we mentioned that the South Korean parliament was set to consider a law that could force both Google and Apple to allow third-party payment methods on their respective app stores. At the time, the general consensus was that South Korean lawmakers would vote for the new law, and the vote happened early on Wednesday.

The South Korean parliamentary committee voted to recommend the law, which is a step towards breaking what many see as a monopoly that both Google and Apple have regarding payments on in-app purchases. As it stands now, both of the technology giants force developers to use proprietary payment systems and grab up to 30 percent of the money developers earn.

Criticism against the payment methods used by both Google and Apple has surfaced from around the world. Google Play and the Apple App Store are massive moneymakers, with their respective companies raking in billions of dollars each year, mostly from the commission fees charged when consumers download games and other apps created by developers.

Apple has long maintained that allowing other payment methods via its App Store puts users at risk of fraud. Apple also claims opening its payment system up to third parties undermines its privacy protections. Google maintains the legislation has been rushed and hasn’t put enough effort into analyzing potential negative impacts of the change.

Considering Google has long allowed users to download apps from third-party app stores, it’s likely going to be very difficult for the search giant to argue against the change in the minds of many Android users. Supporters of the legislation maintain that Apple and Google are certainly capable of ensuring payment security via third-party providers by working with external developers and partners. The proposed legislation still has to go through a final vote in parliament to be approved. A loss in South Korea could set a precedent making similar legislation in other parts of the world easier to obtain.


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