Aug 31, 2021 - Technology

South Korea will be first country to curb Google, Apple app-store payments

Apple iPads at a store in Seoul, South Korea, in February 2021.

Apple iPads at a store in Seoul, South Korea, in February 2021. Photo: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Korean lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that will prevent Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The bill, which will become the first law of its kind after it's signed by President Moon Jae-in, threatens to reduce Google and Apple's dominance over app developers and their access to commissions from in-app sales.

  • The legislation also prevents app platforms from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the store.

The big picture: The bill will likely be cited by lawmakers in the European Union and the U.S. who are also attempting to rein in the major tech companies.

  • The EU's antitrust commission charged Apple with antitrust violations in April after the company required music-streaming apps like Spotify to use its in-app payments system to sell digital content and charged high commission fees.
  • Apple was also recently forced to make concessions to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by U.S.-based developers over key structures of its App Store.
  • A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators unveiled legislation earlier this month that would, like South Korea's legislation, ban app store operators from requiring use of their own in-app payment systems.

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