South Korea’s telecommunications regulator is planning to launch an investigation into Apple’s App Store and Alphabet’s Google and One Store over suspicions of the app store violating the country’s in-app payment law.
Apple and Google may be in violation of South Korea’s Telecommunication Business Act
In August 2021, South Korea became the first country to stop tech companies from forcing developers to use their native payment systems through an amendment to its Telecommunication Business Act. The law came into effect in September 2021.
To comply with the new law, Google in November announced that it will give developers the option to add an alternative in-app billing system along with Play Store’s own payment system in South Korea. Apple was a little late to the game as it announced it would allow alternative payment in systems for developers in January 2022.
Now, according to Reuters, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said in a statement that it conducted an investigation to determine whether app stores operating in the region had violated its rules. The findings of the investigation revealed that all three marketplaces might have done so.
Apple and One Store have not responded to the statement of the KCC as of yet. However, Google did issue the following statement:
We have worked closely with government stakeholders and our developer community to expand user choice in Korea in compliance with the new law, while continuing to ensure we can invest in the ecosystem and provide a safe and high quality experience for all.
As we have at each stage of this process, we’ll continue to cooperate with the KCC.
The regulator plans to take strict measures such as correction orders or imposing fines if further investigation finds barred activities. Barred acts include companies “delaying the review of mobile content, or refusing, delaying, restricting, deleting, or blocking the registration, renewal, or inspection of mobile content that uses third-party payment methods.”
As for the fines, they could be as high as 2% of the company’s annual revenue from related business practices. As of right now, the regulator has not specified what fine could be applied to the discoverings of its investigations.