Tuesday 24 August 2021 7:26 am

South Korea set to crack down on Apple and Google over app charges

South Korea is poised to block Apple and Google from charging commission on in-app purchases in what could be the first such move by regulators around the world.

The parliament’s legislation and judiciary committee is today expected to approve legal changes that will ban app store operators with dominant market positions from forcing certain payment systems.

The changes relate to the Telecommunications Business Act, dubbed the “anti-Google law”. If the bill gets the committee’s approval, it will be put to a final vote tomorrow.

Apple and Google are under fierce scrutiny around the world over their in-app payment systems that charge software developers up to 30 per cent commission on purchases.

The UK competition watchdog has launched a formal probe into Apple’s app store and a further investigation into Apple and Google’s dominance of the mobile ecosystem.

The companies have also been hit with class action lawsuits in Britain over claims their charges are unlawful.

Meanwhile both the EU and the US have outlined plans to target app store commissions as part of wider competition probes into the tech giants.

Apple has also been locked in a high-profile legal battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games over its charges.

Both Google and Apple have defended their in-app purchase commissions, arguing their platforms support the wider app market.

However, Google last year said it would reduce the amount of commission it charges from 30 per cent to 15 per cent on the first $1m developers earn in revenue.

In South Korea, the home market of rival Samsung, Google Play Store pulled in revenue of nearly six trillion won ($5.3bn) last year, according to a government report published last year.

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