South Korea passes ‘anti-Google law’
Firmbee / Pixabay
South Korea passes ‘anti-Google law’

South Korea’s parliament approved a bill on Tuesday that imposes curbs on Google and Apple’s payment policies. The bill bans these major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commissions on in-app purchases.

This comes after the legislation and judiciary committee of South Korea’s National Assembly approved the bill on August 26. The bill is an amendment of the Telecommunications Business Act.

The Telecommunications Business Act has been called the “Anti-Google law” and is the first time such a curb has been imposed by a government on Google and Apple’s payment policies. Reuters reported that the final vote was 180 in favor out of the 188 attendings.

Apple and Google’s policies usually require developers to pay the tech giants a commission as high as 30 percent of every transaction, but the bill will now mean that developers will be able to avoid paying this commission by directing users to pay via alternate platforms. The law is designed to prevent dominant operators on the app store from forcing payment systems on app developers. It also gives the South Korean government the power to mediate disputes regarding payment.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters that “we’ll reflect on how to comply with this law while maintaining a model that supports a high-quality operating system and app store, and we will share more in the coming weeks.”

Apple has proposed a settlement on this issue in the US, announcing updates to the app store in order to support businesses and maintain a great experience for users.

Apple and Google have increasingly been under scrutiny over their systems in other markets and so now many will be looking to see if the move in South Korea will become a tipping point where other countries may impose similar measures.

The legislation will become law in South Korea once signed by President Moon Jae-in whose party has been a supporter of the bill.